Monthly Update: November 2021
Writing this a bit early, as I'm traveling for Thanksgiving and won't be bringing my laptop.
I worked more on Flounder this month than I have in a while. There weren't many new features, however, I
- Added a finger server (add to .plan)
- Fixed a few outstanding bugs
- Improved site performance
If I keep working on Flounder, I am thinking of doing a semi-regular git release, improving my commit messages, and using that to demonstrate site updates. It'll be RSS involved. I also started an IRC channel: #flounder on irc.libera.chat (I've been starting to follow some IRC channels lately).
I came across this Rust library that revived my interest in the language -- it showed me that it is possible to write "simple" Rust, with few dependencies, and thin abstractions.
I updated my Rust finger client to support finger URIs. Reached out to the author of the finger URI spec  and received a surprisingly helpful and informative response about the RFC standardization process. Looking forward to learning more about that in the coming month. There seems to be a bit of what I'm terming a "finger revival", most notably with the top hacker news post being a wonderful new site: plan.cat.
I visited my brother in Baltimore and saw some friends in New York City. Thought about how much I love the city, and how I want to spend more time there. Came back to San Francisco with a stronger sense of self, identity, and values.
I've been reading more Nietzsche lately: specifically "The Will to Power". I don't read much philosophy (I did a lot more in college, and was a philosophy major for 1 semester), but some things really resonate with me, and Nietzsche's work strongly does, especially "Beyond Good and Evil" and "The Will to Power" (which I'm reading now). Nietzsche's writing is so strong that it shakes me out of complacency and malaise, and reminds me to dedicate myself more strongly to my creative energies and producing things that I value, specifically, projects like Flounder, or other software projects. I have been thinking lately in terms of power (as Nietzsche does. To clarify: not power OVER [someone], but power TO [do something]. German: Macht) -- it doesn't mean anything to ponder ideas unless you have the ability to manifest them into the world. People who want to change the world post on social media as if it is an assertion of power, but in many cases, it is an assertion of weakness, of an ineffectiveness to determine their own lives or the world around them. I know that is a big reason I was obsessed with social media and online spaces in general when I was younger. Instead, I can think, what am I capable of achieving, and how can I expand that capability? Right now, the main creative force in my life is building software, both at work and outside of it.
Continuing to develop my knowledge and capability at this dramatically expands what I'm capable of achieving, and my ability to positively affect the world, and especially to will into existence new ideas and technology that did not exist before. The opposite of this orientation towards self-empowerment is deterministic thinking: an attitude that the world is already predetermined, that everything is hopeless, and that nothing can be changed (about my life, about the world) through human will. This is a line of thinking that I can unfortunately be susceptible to. I added this Nietzsche quote to my home page:
I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation.
It isn't an exaggeration to say that reading Beyond Good and Evil in 2013 completely changed the direction of my life, moreso than probably any other book I've read: I was isolated, didn't take risks, lacked creative ambition, etc, before reading that book. I was caught up in patterns of philosophical thinking and over-thinking that Nietzsche would accurately critique as nihilist. I strongly recommend it. I continue to find valuable insights in his work.
December is Advent of Code, which I will be participating in. See my previous attempts, which I did not complete. My next project plan is to finish "Crabmail", my modern static html viewer. This will allow me to self-host my mailing lists, and I think is a project that has the potential to provide a lot of value to people. I don't know when I will be able to work on it though, it may not happen this month. If you're interested, please don't contribute/fork this project, as it's not really ready for collaborators yet.
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