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96% darker, 15% more green

Since implementing the dark mode I have been focusing more on the design of the site. Maybe it's just the darkness that brought all those little things into the daylight. Lighter themes might be more forgiving while darker overall is heavy enough on it's own that it requires more minimal design otherwise.

A study in minimalism: date

There are three use cases for dates in Writestreak: post date, comment date and notification date. The first question I asked from my self was "can I use same format for them all?". For developers perspective the simplest solution would be to display all the dates the same way. This could save some precious lines of code and also make the system less complex and thus easier to maintain. After a careful consideration I decided they have different needs: the post has the date it was posted, anchoring it as a baseline action.

What to remove next?

Now that I have started at the path of minimalism I'm constantly staring at the screen trying to find more things to remove. There is still plenty of clutter that could be cleaned out. It's quickly turning into an obsession. I feel annoyed when I notice something that doesn't need to be there.

One way of making things look cleaner is to hide things from the view until they are needed. On the other hand I would like to keep as much of the features visible as possible. Hidden things just create hidden complexity. Feels a bit like sweeping the trash under the carpet.

Mnmlsm

Taking a critical look on the features is just the first step in pursuing the perfection through minimalism. Next step is to make the site also look clean. Every element should have a purpose, everything else is just noise. But the biggest challenge lies behind the scene: the lean code.

Silent week

I just realized I haven't been interacting much with anyone outside my close circle this week if you don't count all those work related meetings. I know I don't usually do much of it either but now it feels like have been extra silent. After all those work interactions I've just been too exhausted to even think about a single comment.

It's been a long week

As I wrote last week these two weeks have been mostly talks at work. I've been sitting in meetings, mostly one on ones what feels like an eternity. 3-4 personal discussions in addition to the usual weekly meetings hasn't left me much of any time, or energy, to do anything else.

Luckily it's almost over now. The last discussions are scheduled for tomorrow save the few that we had to re-schedule until next week due calendar conflicts that happened to emerge since I originally booked these events.

Firebox

Software development is usually structured in cycles in modern delivery processes. Between the cycles, often called sprints the items to be developed usually move between various lists. The simplest model backlog -> todo -> done where backlog holds all the items that need to be delivered at the end of the project. For each sprint the items that will be worked with are moved into the todo and once they are completed they end up in done.

Minimal viable platform

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Since the launch of the Writestreak I have been looking for the next feature to add to the site. There are a lot already added and many more waiting in the backlog. But should I really try to implement every possible feature (and the alleged kitchen sink)?

Big amount of posts

At the point in elementary school when we are finally allowed to use calculators we also learn another skill: writing with numbers. There are a handful of numbers that, especially when displayed on the digital screen of those basic calculators translate directly to letters. Other numbers can be used more liberally and offer some room of interpretation while some work better upside down. It is a skill that will get perfected during all those boring classes when you should instead be learning about some advanced math.

Double trouble

This event driven architecture Writestreak is largely build is great. I'm loving it more and more every day. But despite my vast experience in web technologies and architecture it's different enough to also cause some unexpected headaches.

Since the beginning of the week you might have noticed double notifications whenever there is a mention or comment for your posts. It's not you seeing double, those notification events just ended up triggering twice.

Gradual improvements

I haven't made any big releases on Writestreak for a short while. Instead, I have been working silently on some smaller features. Some which are visible on the frontend, others only affecting the backend side of things.

I haven't either waited to release them on some bigger batch. What I've instead been doing is releasing all the little things as soon as I'm certain they work properly and more importantly won't break any existing functionality. The way it should be.

Finding the path

Leadership is about finding the way. When you know where you are heading it's easier to convince others to follow you on that path. Nobody wants to follow those who are lost. By knowing the way you don't even have to take that path yourself, but that's not what the real leaders to.

Picking up the path doesn't necessarily mean going where you as a leader want to go. It's not your job to lead your team to your destination. No, you need to find the path for your team. Guide them where they need to be regardless your own destination.

Bubble cultures in fiction

No matter whether it's some faraway kingdom in a fantasy world or a distant planet in a space opera there is always an effort from the writer to make the inhabitants of those places feel distinctive. It's just that usually it's left there, just a single representation for a while kingdom or even a planet. They seem to only deserve that one telltale thing that everybody throughout the galaxy immediately recognizes. Even if the target society is multiracial!

Two weeks of talks

It's that time again: the growth discussions with those who I lead. As if it wouldn't be challenging and uneasy for me to just do it for those immediately under my supervision this time around I decided to do an extended round of talks also with people who belong to different units, but act in a role I'm responsible for in broader sense (architects). On top of that I also promised to go through those discussions with some of my peers - those who are in similar position regarding other roles in our company. That's total of 20 one to one and a half hour discussions.

Small annoying things

All those small things, tasks that don't feel worth doing. They don't offer enough gains. There is no reward. Nobody really misses them, or at least thing they are urgent. You might even learn to live with them.

But they pile up. First there is one, two, ten... Too many to handle. Alone, meaningless but together a nuisance. You'd have better things to do. More important tasks to tackle. It's just too hard to focus, too hard to start because of those small annoying things.

Cold starts

Serverless architecture has many advantages compared to a more traditional hosting solution. It however isn't perfect either. One of the best things of it is the pricing model. Instead of paying constant fee for fixed amount of resourses, even if there is no usage at all serverless functions are billed on usage basis. Every execution is counted and if there are no executions there is no cost either.

Just when you thought it's over

Warning: contains spoilers for the Etherfields boargame!

Couple of days ago I wrote we are at the endgame of our Etherfields core box campaign and would be soon out of things to play (in this game) until the second wave shipment would bring us the additional campaigns included in the extension packs.

We finally have all the keys. We face the final dreamgate, the gate to home. We place the keys into the locks, turning them one by one. Slowly, the door opens, revealing a familiar path - the road home.

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