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Yodeller

Welcome to the Yodeller: my ongoing project to try and write something every day. You can read more about the background from here. If you are a new reader you might want to start from the beginning.

Habits are easy to change, but they don't change easily

I'm on the train again, heading to the office. What used to be almost a daily ritual just a year ago has happened only twice last year. The walk to the station has still remained a kind of a ritual. Except the route in my mind has changed!

As I haven't been walking the route for so long I automatically followed the new default route I have assumed over the past year. The one in have taken driving there to drop- or pick up somebody from there. Even if that hasn't happened that often, maybe once or twice a month on average, it has still overridden my default route I follow on automation to the station. Luckily I reserved a bit more time today due to weather so the longer route didn't cause me to be late.

When I sat down on the train another ritual triggered. The cue to start writing has still remained strong despite the long pause. Nothing has affected that ritual, so it was right there where I left it, coming back again as soon as the conditions aligned.

It doesn't take much to change even the most established routines. So it's easy to change the bad ones, but you also need to be careful not to alter the good ones.

Update on Writestreak development

There hasn't been much of any updates on Writestreak, both the actual service or the progress I have been making. It however doesn't mean there hasn't been any. Quite the opposite. The changes just have been subtle and the progress uninteresting.

Along the way I have made couple of minor fixes and improvements as a rolling updates. There is another batch of small tweaks already waiting for final testing before they are ready for release. Just need to find the time and inspiration for that in between doing the bigger changes behind the scenes.

Most of the effort I've put on this project recently has gone to the rewrite. I really wanted to finish the transition from the realtime database to Firestore before continuing with new features. It has taken longer than I originally anticipated, but it's still progressing nicely. Only things left are user profiles and comments and after that the migration of data.

Despite the effort, more I use the new stuff the more convinced I become that it was the right choice. Everything is just so much easier. Even when the framework itself doesn't provide something specific it's easy to build your own on top. I found this the hard way trying to convert the out of the box pager functionality into a "load more" instead. Trying to keep the declarative structure was a dead end compared to just doing it with reactive templates.

While I have been doing the rewrite I haven't just replicated the old functionality either. I've already implemented some new features as well as it was just so easy to add them along the way. Feels great when you can actually focus on problem solving and polished features instead of struggling with the basic stuff.

That little shelf

I don't think I would ever have brought the thoughts about that useless shelf above our sink out of the bathroom if it wasn't for writing. It was just something that came to my mind every time I saw it and was already forgotten the time I stepped out from the bathroom.

But after writing daily for so many years one of the things I've learned is paying attention to such little things. There are always potential topics lurking around when you keep your eyes open. They might not be that interesting on themselves, but they might incite some more interesting thoughts.

Everything is worth writing. It's another matter if all that is worth reading. But the fact is: there is always something to write about. Having nothing to write about is a bad excuse for not writing. There are potential topics everywhere. Just have a look around you and pick one.

Out of sight, out of mind

We have a small plastic shelf above our bathroom sink. It has been there since the last owners but we haven't had any use for it. I'm not even sure what it is for, it doesn't feel too sturdy and it's rather small with not much room being there below the cabin. There are two holes on the side which could probably hold toothbrushes or something, but even in that case it doesn't feel like a place I would like to keep them.

As it's useless I could just remove it. Get rid of the minor distraction it causes every time I see it. But it's not even that much of a distraction anyway. As it's there between the sink and the cabin it's not the first thing to notice. In fact, when you are standing right in front of the sink it's actually hidden under the cabin. You only see it from a bit further or leaning down, for example when washing your face.

It's probably also attached there with those "handy" glue stickers that are easy way to install anything anywhere, but are impossible to get rid of completely. So the reward versus the effort probably isn't worth it.

Suggested for you

Chrome have had this feature on the new tsb page where it shows "articles for you" -feed based on your interests. When I first discovered it after moving to Android I was unimpressed. It didn't offer any interesting content at all, just s generic feed of popular articles.

Now this probably was due to Google not knowing enough of my interests. Coming from an open, privacy focused platform hadn't left much of a trace of me for Google to process. So for a while I just ignored the feed.

It didn't take long however before I started noticing a somewhat interesting topics popping at the top of the feed (noticed only due to the occasional glimpses the feed still got from me when opening a new tab). A sign that my history was being recorded now. The machine had started to form a model of my interests. And every now and then it did find something interesting.

Before long I found myself regularly going through the feed. I even started curating the list by the tools it provided to fine tune it to better match my interests.

But along the way something has gone horribly wrong. The list today is essentially repeating topics I have searched during the past days. The things I have already learned what I was looking for. Where have all the interesting articles to discover new interesting things gone?

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