Weeknotes #67

in weeknotes

  • Another state of emergency was declared in Tokyo on Friday (NHK). Similar states of emergency were also declared for Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto. The state of emergency runs from Sunday 25 April to Tuesday 11 May and involves stricter measures being called for by the authorities. I am pessimistic that a great deal of good will come of it. I’m sure it will help to some degree but, as far as I can see, the only real way Japan can get back to something approximating normal is large-scale vaccination. Unfortunately, that, too, doesn’t seem likely to happen any time soon (NHK).

  • If you’ll excuse me going a bit meta, as regular readers might have noticed, I’ve been trying out different websites for news articles. I was pretty happy with Reuters but then they went and changed their website and removed the ability to search (?!). Since the news stories I want to link to are primarily Japan-related, I figured it made sense to use NHK. We’ll see how that goes.

  • Speaking of those news stories, I was talking to Brandon about our respective weeknotes (Brandon calls his weeklies) and mentioned that one of the reasons I include them is that I import these weeknotes into Day One, partly as a way to keep a record of what’s happening. This led to a conversation about how I do that. It’s pretty simple. I have a separate RSS feed for these weeknotes and so I can easily use IFTTT’s feed service to pipe the posts into the Day One service.

  • The timing doesn’t seem particularly auspicious given the declaration of a state of emergency, but Eri and I decided we’d start using disposable masks for the kids when we go out rather than the re-usable ones we’ve been using to this point. The re-usable ones fit a little better but the hassle of inserting new filters (not to mention washing them) was such that I would often avoid taking the kids out on weekends. Not coincidentally, I took the kids to a nearby park on Sunday.

  • I began trialling the podcast client, Castro. I’ve been a loyal user of Overcast since… well, I’m not sure. It’s been a very long time. Overcast isn’t flawless but as one of—if not the—most used apps on my phone, its longevity is testament to the fact that it does what I need it to and does it well. At least it did until a recent update radically reconfigured the companion watch app. Having listened to Overcast’s developer, Marco Arment, discuss his experiences developing for watchOS, I’m sympathetic to the problems he’s facing: he wants the watch app to be a reliable remote playing device and that doesn’t seem possible if it’s syncing data from the phone. Unfortunately for me, I don’t care about a reliable remote playing device; I want a reliable remote control device (i.e. something that will control the app running on my phone). As I understand it, the architecture of the revised watch app involves it syncing directly with the cloud rather than the phone. That works better than you might think but it doesn’t work all the time. Frequently, I find the watch app doesn’t list what’s playing on my phone or if nothing had been played for a period of time, it forgets the podcast that is active (albeit not being played) in Overcast. Castro’s watch app doesn’t suffer those problems. Unfortunately, I’ve really struggled to get used to Castro’s UI interactions and it turns out I also interact directly with my phone’s podcast app a lot, too. Maybe I need to get back into iOS development?

  • I shaved over the weekend for the first time in a couple of weeks and realised I’m losing my chin. I mentioned last week that my weight had gone up to 73kg and those events seem related. I decided I’d try again to return to intermittent fasting.

  • One of the things that helped me get through Donald Trump’s presidency was Seth Meyers’ ‘A Closer Look’ segment, a recurring bit from his show in which he commented on one or more events in the news. I’m not as religious about watching it with Biden in the presidency but I still check in from time to time and this week’s was excellent (YouTube).

  • It’s not complete but the CommonMark parser I’ve been working on correctly parses all the examples in v0.29.0 of the CommonMark spec. I call it Remarkable, a play on the name Markable, the Janet wrapper I wrote for cmark-gfm. Remarkable doesn’t come close to the speed of some of the other implementations but I think it’ll be fine for most uses and if that’s the trade-off for a more extensible parser, it’ll be worth it for my needs.

  • In Weeknotes #65, I mentioned my discomfort with transgender issues. Well, after watching Abigail Thorn’s video, I next moved onto another one I’ve been putting off for months now: ContraPoints essay on J.K. Rowling (YouTube). At almost an hour and a half, it’s very, very long but I thought it was excellent and a really good exploration of the controversy surrounding Rowling’s position on trans rights and the position of other women like her.

  • I finished a book! After lamenting last week that reducing the amount of online reading I was doing hadn’t resulted in an increase in the amount of time I was reading books, I moved the Kindle app to my home screen and that seemed to do the trick. Within a day or so, I’d made it through Denis Johnson’s Nobody Move, a book I’ve been very slowly reading since December. I said on GoodReads (review) that I didn’t make much of a connection with it but if you like noir, I recommend checking it out.

  • The Chemical Brothers have a new single, ‘The Darkness That You Fear’ (Apple Music). It’s nothing groundbreaking but I enjoyed listening to it numerous times over the weekend.

Michael Camilleri @pyrmont