In the afternoon Alice went out to test the skateboard she got
yesterday as a "Sinterklaas" present.
Alice actually doesn't like the above photo because she's holding the
skateboard in what's called a mall grab which nowadays is somehow a
big no. But I think she looks great!
On navigating a large codebase
A while ago, I’ve been working on a very large codebase that
consisted of a few million lines of code. Large systems are usually
a big mess and this one was no exception. Since this is a rather
common problem in software engineering, I thought the internet would
be littered with stories about this topic. There is a lot of talk
about software carpentry, while software maintenance is rarely
debated. Either large programs are being maintained by dark matter
developers or nobody thinks that writing stories about large systems
are interesting enough.
In the past I’ve encountered a few of those large monsters and they
seem to have a lot in common. This article will try to present some
of the problems and tricks that I am using when I have to deal with
them. Hopefully this will inspire others to write similar posts and
share tips from their own bag of tricks.
On the night he celebrates a big win, defense attorney Mickey Haller
is pulled over by police, who find the body of a former client in
the trunk of his Lincoln. Haller is immediately charged with murder
but can’t post the exorbitant $5 million bail slapped on him by a
In the morning Alice and I went to Scheveningen to pay a visit to
Skate Shop Rollerwave. Alice wanted
a skateboard and protective gear for her "Sinterklaas" present.
On our way to the shop we encountered a nice looking but rusty Honda
motorcycle so I took a photo.
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
Donald R. Prothero’s Evolution is an entertaining and rigorous
history of the transitional forms and series found in the fossil
record. Its engaging narrative of scientific discovery and
well-grounded analysis has led to the book’s widespread adoption in
courses that teach the nature and value of fossil evidence for
evolution. Evolution tackles systematics and cladistics, rock
dating, neo-Darwinism, and macroevolution. It includes extensive
coverage of the primordial soup, invertebrate transitions, the
development of the backbone, the reign of the dinosaurs, and the
transformation from early hominid to modern human. The book also
details the many alleged “missing links” in the fossil record,
including some of the most recent discoveries that flesh out the
fossil timeline and the evolutionary process.
In the late afternoon we went to my mother's house to celebrate
"Sinterklaas". I got the hardcover of Donald R. Prothero’s Evolution
(second edition). I plan to read this book front to back very
soon. The book is recommended by Jerry
author of Why Evolution Is
which I read, with a lot of pleasure, a few years ago.
Just before midnight I finally finished
by S. K. Dunstall, which is the pen name used by Australian sisters
Sherylyn and Karen Dunstall. While I love the idea of "lines", to me
it's very original, the book was quite a slow read. Only in the end
the pace increased. I am not sure yet if I am going to read the sequel.
Spiders Can Fly Hundreds of Miles Using Electricity
Every day, around 40,000
crackle around the world, collectively turning Earth’s atmosphere
into a giant electrical
upper reaches of the atmosphere have a positive charge, and the
planet’s surface has a negative one. Even on sunny days with
cloudless skies, the air carries a voltage of around 100 volts for
every meter above the ground. In foggy or stormy conditions, that
gradient might increase to tens of thousands of volts per meter.
Ballooning spiders operate within this planetary electric
field. When their silk leaves their bodies, it typically picks up a
negative charge. This repels the similar negative charges on the
surfaces on which the spiders sit, creating enough force to lift
them into the air. And spiders can increase those forces by climbing
onto twigs, leaves, or blades of grass. Plants, being earthed, have
the same negative charge as the ground that they grow upon, but they
protrude into the positively charged air. This creates substantial
electric fields between the air around them and the tips of their
leaves and branches—and the spiders ballooning from those tips.
Today, I want to explore Parsec, and most specifically how Parsec
works. Parsing is ubiquitous, and most Haskell programs will use
Parsec or one of its variants (megaparsec or attoparsec). While it’s
possible to use those libraries without caring about how they work,
I think it’s fascinating to develop a mental model for their inner
design; namely, monadic parser combinators, as it is a simple and
elegant technique that is useful beyond the use case of parsing raw
text. At Hasura, we have recently used this technique to rewrite the
code that generates a GraphQL schema and checks an incoming GraphQL
query against it.
It was only when I recently heard someone else say, “git stash is
scary” that I realized it was top of my list of fears too. It just
usually feels like there’s a chance I’ll just lose all of my in
progress work to the depths of stashes and never be able to get the
right incantation of git commands to reincarnate my code.
Something I learned recently and I thought was amazing - you can
create sockets straight from your shell! Well, assuming you use bash
or zsh - from some surface level digging, I couldn’t find anything
Normally I’ve reached for UI Testing. Unfortunately, more and more
issues with XCUITest seem to pop up. It’s become (always has been?)
a tad too flaky and unreliable. And even when it works it’s orders
of magnitude slower than XCTest.
Whats been working for me is a middle ground: testing the UI in
XCTest. In other words, integration- or feature-level tests written
in Xcode’s unit testing framework.
There's a trillion blog posts about everything that is so great with
SwiftUI. Now that we all know what is so great about it, I thought
I'd write something about what is not so great. This post focuses on
macOS but should apply to iOS as well.
Why should you use an ORM (Object Relational Mapper)?
Budding web developers learning Model-View-Controller frameworks are
taught that they should use an Object Relational Mapper (ORM) to
interface with their databases. But the “why” is often brushed aside
or omitted entirely, leaving a fledgeling programmer with burning
questions like ”What are ORMs, anyway?” and “What problems do they
ORMs are a class of tools that facilitate interactions between a
programming language and a relational database management
system. They can range in complexity and opinionation from a simple
set of abstractions for interactions with relational databases
(SQLAlchemy Base) to fully opinionated tools for mapping database
rows to language structs (Django ORM, SQLAlchemy ORM). To get a
better understanding of how ORMs work, it’s helpful to work through
the kind of problems they can solve.
In this post I’m going to jot down a few thoughts to a question that
has been intriguing me for a while now. “What font-display setting
should be used to improve the experience for all users?”. Before I
get into that, let’s go over a few of the basics.
Not so long ago, I was using macOS as my daily driver. The main
reason why I got a macbook was the underlying BSD Unix and the nice
graphics it provides. Also, I have an iPhone. But they were also the
same reasons for why I left macOS.
I did not want to write this post right after the migration, I
wanted to take my time, use FreeBSD daily, see if I will ever miss
The original idea to make a tweet that quote tweets itself is from
the 28th of May 2020—as recorded in Evernote—but I think
had likely occurred to me earlier when considering what
ramifications Twitter having an edit button would have—most notably
being able to mislead, being able to vandalize someone's timeline
post-retweet, and of course being able to edit your tweet to refer
Fundamentally the challenge is just correctly guessing what ID a
given tweet is going to get, then appending that onto the URL for
our profile and tweeting it.
Defaulting to the system font of a particular operating system can
boost performance because the browser doesn’t have to download any
font files, it’s using one it already had. That’s true of any “web
safe” font, though. The beauty of “system” fonts is that it matches
what the current OS uses, so it can be a comfortable look.
Apple's M1 chip: Making desktop computing cool again
This past summer, at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC),
Apple announced that it would be transitioning from Intel to its
in-house Apple Silicon over the next two years. Apple said the first
Macs with in-house silicon would arrive by the end of 2020. Well,
here we are, and we have a new MacBook Air, 13 inch MacBook Pro, and
a Mac mini.
The form factors of these devices are identical, but the real magic
is the new M1 chip inside. Is it as fast as Apple claims? Will it
run our apps properly? What does the M1 chip mean for desktop
computing generally? In this article, I will try and answer these