The people I'm most regularly impressed by these days are creatives.

People who are able to release something into the world (a painting, a photo, a podcast, a poem, a story, a book, a quilt, a hooked rug, etc etc), feel proud of it, and more onto the next one.

What a desirable trait.

#00045 /

Life's About Reps, a great video from Christian Fournier

Lots of wisdom in this one, packed into just 1:55.

First, the premise:

Every piece of success is just the end of a long trail of reps that have built up to that moment

Second, the grind:

the hardest part is putting in enough work to get to the point where you see your return on investment

Discomfort, pain, growth, satisfaction, repeat.

#00044 /

A non-exhaustive list of database things I want to abstract away using AI, and never do myself, ever again:

  • create tables using SQL or a UI (natural language only)
  • create views
  • add and update columns
  • write RLS policies
  • optimize queries / add indexes
  • write select queries
  • many more things, probably
#00043 /

We had Molly Graham come by Supabase today and give a talk and answer some questions. So. Much. Insight. Even if you don't work in startups there's so much here to be learned here. Start with the post on joy.

I started working on my four lists as soon as the call ended. Extremely insightful already.

#00042 /

The best time of his life was when his girls were little, Ray said as he neared the end.

Fantastic piece, but this resonated most loudly for me. Having young, fun, innocent, energetic, enthusiastic kids feels as close to winning the lottery as I've seen yet.

From Obituary for a quiet life.

#00039 /

Reading The Man Who Quit Money after many recommendations over the years. It has an interesting arc. So much of the main character's motivation comes down to having a particularly hard time rejecting his ultra-conservative religious upbringing, but the book doesn't start here. The book starts on a philosophical footing and works its way back.

Sad to see religion at the root here, though worth reading for some interesting takeaways. It's also very well written. Surprising that this was Sundeen's biggest (and only?) breakaway book.

#00038 /

[Me, early in the Spring haven't taken many photos lately:] I really need to get all my lens collection down to 1.4 aperture lenses

[Me, a few weeks later, a couple of thousand photos into the season:]

Aperture literally doesn't matter at all. If all my lenses were f8, that would be totally fine. Light, composition, interesting subjects, a river, a bridge, a tree, a flower, a nice car, a beautiful shirt, a large hat. These are the only things that actually matter.

#00037 /

“I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.”

​— Roger Ebert, “Go gentle into that good night", via Tim Ferriss.

#00036 /

I've had Can You Run on repeat basically all day. The Steeldrivers had such an incredible run. What a slice of time before Stapleton took off on his own.

#00034 /

[N]o amount of antipathy for the hollowness of fashion can prepare you for how powerfully uncool Phish is.

Rob Weychert experiences a Phish concert, reluctantly.

#00035 /

I listened to a podcast the other day with Tony Robins and Theo Von. I realized that all these self-improvement people have at least one thing in common: they all have an extraordinary command of their own knowledge.

Robbins went fluidly from one concept to another for two solid hours: "here's 4 things about that", "there's five things you need to keep in mind here", "that's because of these six ideas". None of it was made up on the spot — he repeated a couple of these lists, in the same order each time.

Being able to speak fluidly, continuously, and authoritatively is such an advantageous skill.

I think he gets some flack for peddling snake oil, but his three of these, four of these, six of these all seem like extremely solid concepts to me.

#00032 /

Hanlon's razor:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by [ignorance or] stupidity.

From an interview with Andrew Wilkinson on My First Million. Andrew added the ignorance part in the podcast, which I think is a nice addition there.

#00031 /

Q: What steps do you take to achieve your best work?

A: I’d say focus and deep work (read Cal Newport if you haven’t). If I give myself 5 hours at a desk to do something important I will get it done. It sounds so simple but once you can work deeply and consistently you’re impossible to compete with.

From an "interview" with Jordan Hughes on Twitter

#00030 /

How to fix a bad mood:

— Visit a bookstore.

How to fix low motivation:

— Visit a bookstore.

How to fix a creative drought:

— Visit a bookstore.

How to fix feeling low:

— Visit a bookstore.

How to get immediate creative inspiration:

— Visit a bookstore.

Etc. Go visit a bookstore.

#00029 /

Is there a Japanese word for coming back to something that made no sense at one point, but now seems totally sensible simply because your skills have grown enough to accommodate it?

I was playing with a Next.js starter kit the other day and had this nagging feeling that I'd used it before. Once that memory properly crystalized, I realized that I had used this starter kit before, and discarded it. I remember thinking that nothing was setup the way I wanted it, it used TypeScript which I didn't know or want back then, and just seemed, generally, foreign to me.

I had another look at it over over the weekend and realized that it's almost exactly how I'd set it up today. There was no longer any foreignness to it. The only thing that changed was me and my skills.

Anyone know Japanese? There has to be a word for this.

#00028 /

An observation about AI:

Increasingly these days, it feels like my work and career revolve around AI. But none of the rest of my life does.

The rest of my life is unblemished by AI. There, I want to walk and think and read and reflect and build cabinets and chairs out of wood and travel and take pictures of my kids having fun at the beach. None of my hopes or dreams or imaginations or ideal days have even the slightest thing to do with AI.

#00027 /

I spent a couple of hours last week thinking about a new project. I think it's a good idea, but like most good ideas, it will take a huge amount of two things that are scarce: time and money. Who knows if I'll be able to justify spending either on this. We'll see.

Of interest, this project involved making an app, which would be my first. I think it was Chris Coyier who said something like: "I can't imagine working on something that doesn't have a url". This perfectly captured how I feel as well. I like to work on things that have urls (links to the App Store don't count). I like apps well enough, and there's a place for them, but projects with urls are where it's at for me.

None of that is the point today, though. The point for today is just how good we have it in 2024 as web developers. I use Next.js and Supabase, but other things like WordPress and Rails are also really, really good. I unknowingly took all this for granted before firing up my potential project with Expo last weekend.

It was painful!

The setup was painful, the docs were painful, the config was painful, using TypeScript was painful. The whole thing, pain! Compared with the stack I was used to, it's a total mountain of friction. On all my projects today I can get rolling with a couple of quick, effortless commands:

$ npx create-next-app

$ npx shadcn-ui@latest init

$ supabase init

It's obscene what you get with just these three simple commands: a frontend, a backend and an incredible component library. It's virtually frictionless.

Still no word on whether or not I'll pursue my app idea, but I did get something out of the exercise: I realize just how lucky I have it.

As Andy Bernard once said:

I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them.

Turns out there is a way. Spend part of a Sunday playing with Expo.

#00026 /

We've been playing more board games lately. Many of them we bought during covid and never actually got around to playing.

We cracked open The Magic Labyrinth last week and it's a lot of fun.

#00025 /

This is maybe what I’m most proud of: Subtly shifting the conversation from “Why Morioka?” to “What qualities of cities like Morioka in Japan enable people to live meaningful lives?”

Craig Mod, Memberships Year Five

#00024 /

The things I’m most interested right now are a mixture of people doing brand new things and people doing very old things. I’m interested in all the new open source AI models coming out every day, while also being interested in (physical) books Craig Mod has published and software that DHH is releasing.

There's something extremely compelling about old, established things. Books, photos, Ruby, Rails.

#00023 /

If you, like me, don't really know where to even begin to learn about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, let me recommend a place.

After the attack on October 9, 2023, I decided I wanted to dive in and try and come up with some kind of understanding of the forces at play. This episode of The Ezra Klein Show got me started.

I followed that up with several more, and have ended at a much more informed place. If you're looking to get started with this, I'd recommend starting here and here and here and here and here and then here.

#00022 /

Within each child’s greatest weakness, lies their greatest strength. (Ex. A stubborn child might be extraordinarily resilient.) Help them to see their strengths and help them to find areas where they excel that bring them joy.


#00021 /

We watched Back to the Future last weekend with the kids. It's fantastic. Neat that the bulk of the movie is spent in 1955, so it doesn't have that weird 80s movie vibe. Strong recommend. It's stood up extremely well. We're watching #2 this weekend.

#00020 /

My annual reminder about these three essential items for a comfortable winter:

  1. Ice cleats. I would never leave home without these.
  2. Neckwarmer. A cold neck makes everything feel cold.
  3. Good wool socks . I like Smartwool, but Darn Tough are also great if you have narrower feet than mine. Yes they're stupidly expensive, but they keep your feet amazingly warm even if a little wet. I wear these Hike Light Cushion Crew Socks in hiking boots (GORE-TEX, but uninsulated), and my feet generally stay plenty warm.
#00019 /

Something strange and unusual is happening with my side-projects: they're moving forward.

None of this is due to the amount of time I have available to put into them lately (not much). As I resurrected a very old project this past weekend and moved it significantly forward in just a few hours I think I've figured out the key ingredient: server-side rendering.

With Next's app router, I'm able to get data onto the page in a split second. I don't need useEffects or React Query — I can just query my file system or database and I'm off to the races. It's hard to overstate how motivating it feels to have data just there to play with.

It's not that adding a useEffect to run a fetch function and assign received data to a state object is overly taxing. It's not. So I don't think the shift is technical exactly, but rather it's perceptual. It feels like I'm moving fast, so I feel more motivated so I keep going, so I actually have something produced at the end of a small available window.

The thing is, it's just so easy to give up on a side-project and surrender this time back. When the kids need breakfast or the dog needs to go out or laundry needs to be folded or dishes need to be washed, it's easy to let a couple of useEffects or a React Query config add up and make you throw in the towel for the day. The tipping point is surprisingly sensitive.

Crazy at it sounds, server components do a surprisingly good job of keeping the scales tipped away from making pancakes, folding laundry and washing dishes for much longer.

The Basecamp team is doing some of the most exciting work in the software space these days. This week they released Campfire, the first product under their Once brand (sub-brand?).

The core idea is that you buy software just once instead of monthly like in a SaaS.

Add up your SaaS subscriptions last year. You should own that shit by now.

SaaS isn't all bad and buy-once isn't all good, but it's definitely interesting that someone is trying to innovate in this space.

The business model is simple, the license is simple, and the software itself is simple.

Maybe it's just nostalgia for a simpler time, but I find all of this very interesting. Software today is moving fast in the opposite direction. This is refreshing and compelling.

#00017 /

I'm reading Michael Pollan's How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence and it's great so far.

I've been curious about the uses and purported benefits of psychedelics for a couple of years now. It looks like the path to legalization for medical use has started here in Canada, but who knows how long before it's widely available as a therapy.

Would I go through a treatment / experience if I could? I used to give that a 50/50 odds. I wondered about the risks, wondered about the "no going back" aspect of peeling back the curtains like this. But now, after a year or two of reading, I'm pretty firmly in the "would try" camp. The idea of peeling back one's self—one's ego—and being able to see yourself and your mind as an audience member instead of as the primary actor is extremely compelling.

#00016 /

I slept well last night. What an incredible two day experiment this has been. Today, I feel the opposite of all the things I felt yesterday: not tired, not irritable, not unfocused. I also feel more optimistic, hopeful, "postitive" in general, energetic. All the things.

The data is in: feeling bad? Get a good night's sleep.

#00015 /

I was made shockingly aware of how important sleep is today. I had a relatively poor night of sleep last night, getting just 4hrs or so between 2-6am. I normally get about 7hrs between 11pm-6am. I might need more than that, but I normally feel just great at 7hrs.

With just 4hrs in the tank today, I feel: tired (obviously), irritable, unfocused, etc.

No idea how "grind culture" won out over "well-rested culture". It feels so obvious to me as I sit here operating at about 75% capacity that a good night's sleep is the steam that powers everything else.

#00014 /

Elon showed a video of his robot project folding a t-shirt.

As soon as this thing can independently do laundry and dishes, I'm in. Imagine the kitchen never has a single dirty spoon? The laundry baskets are always empty, clothes always neatly folded into drawers.

#00013 /

Finally gave Obsidian a fair shake these last few weeks. I've tried it a couple of times in the past, but never moved anything there.

This time, I moved a bunch of stuff there to give it a proper try. After a solid, two week try I think it's not really for me:

  1. I don't love Markdown. It's fine and I write a lot of stuff in Markdown, but I prefer rich text. Obsidian has a nice mix (you have to use it to see what I mean), but it's truly Markdown-first.
  2. I still have iCloud sync issues that I can't figure out. I want to spend exactly zero seconds debugging issues syncing. I often want to quickly write a note when I'm out walking and Obsidian has failed me here several times because of sync issues.
  3. I don't care where images go, just handle it. Having to manage images yourself is weird. I don't want to do that.
  4. The main promise of Obsidian (the graph), I don't actually want. At least not right now.

These plus a couple of UX quirks and I feel like I'm mostly done with this trial. The bar is extremely high for Note taking apps!

For now, I'm back to Apple Notes with all of it's many, many, many limitations. If I experiment again soon, it'll probably be with Notion. That's the alternative I know best and I mostly find it quite good, with the huge exceptions of speed and search.

#00012 /

Finally bought a Raspberry Pi to start playing with. I bought one a few years back to install Pi-hole for ad-blocking, but I never took it out of the box till this year. When I did, it was broken.

A round of Christmas Nintendo Switch playing prompted me to think about getting a Pi for this purpose. I only really want to play retro games with the kids, and the Switch is such a delicate system. Seems like every time we pick it up there's something broken on it.

So I bought a Pi 4 Model B. So far so good. I've been reluctant to do this for years, not out of technical intimidation but because I thought it would require a bunch of aggravating messing around: power supplies, usb cables, controllers, terrible docs sites etc. But I was pleasantly suprised.

In less than an hour I was playing the original Super Mario via RetroPie and a hard-wired PS4 controller. Finding and loading games ("roms") was actually pretty easy too.

Way easier and less futzing than I was expecting. Huge win. And the boy is thrilled. If you're curious, you should give it a go. You can have all you need for less than a hundred bucks.

#00011 /

Listening to Courtney Marie Andrews, thinking that there's probably two things required to be a great writer. We’re all able to feel pain like she describes in her music, but only a few are able to describe it eloquently. Fewer still are brave enough to write it down and put it out into the world.

#00010 /

In The Internet Is Full of AI Dogshit, the author makes a great, if accidental, case for re-personalizing (re-humanizing?) the internet. Create your own /now page and start connecting with people again. What a colossal mess.

#0009 /

It’s a lot easier to keep a fire kindled than to rekindle it. Advice for all the relationships in your life.

#0007 /

As I’ve been working on some quite old side projects lately, I realize that I am past the point of struggle on many of the core things I use: TypeScript, NextJS, Tailwind, Supabase, config, linting, etc. As I look back on some very old projects, I see a bunch of this stuff that I struggled with and now I’m able to see them clearly and move them forward.

I resurrected the banking project over the last two nights that I'd abandoned years ago. It was an old-old Next site in a total mess. I was trying to build the project, trying to learn TypeScript, trying to use React Query, it also had Mobx in there, so it was also using that at some point. A mess!

In just two nights, I had it fully working. And most of the existing stuff needed to be redone, so it wasn't like I was just picking up where I left off.

Three keys: — knowing the tools — using great, modern tools (Next14 / app router) — ChatGPT for the time-consuming stuff (parsing strings, formatting dates, etc)

What a time to be writing code.

#0008 /

Working on an app to analyze banking info.

Three things have spring to mind while building this:

  1. NextJS's app router has made this kind of thing so nice. Hard to explain. It was obviously possible before, but it all feels so effortless and straightforward now.
  2. It's really, really easy for little purchases to add up.
  3. Kids cost a lot of money! A lot of money: just daycare, school lunch and after-school activities (swimming, dance, etc) is in the range of $10k /yr.
#0006 /

Had a quick look at mymind this morning. I'm a sucker for a good note-taking / organizing app.

"The first and only extension for your real mind." Sounds quite cool to me. Very curious what this could look like as an open source tool built on top of Supabase.

#0003 /

I listened to Tim Ferriss chat with Matt Mullenweg a few weeks ago. Tim asked Matt if he had any suggestions for what he might do "next". Matt named a few ideas, but one that struck me was that Tim might take his 700+ interviews and make them richer. Make them searchable, add AI features, and most interestingly: add links to interesting references. How often does "Paul Graham" come up on the show? In what different contexts? Love this.

#0002 /