Weeknotes 2023-11

Had a weird debugging experience this week. I spent an hour or two on Monday afternoon scratching my head over what seemed like completely impossible behaviour (which, of course, it never is with software), before decided to call it quits for the day. Then I woke up at about 3am, lay awake thinking about random stuff for a while, before all of a sudden the explanation of the errant behaviour popped into my head. Better still, I still remembered it in the morning, and not only that but it was actually correct, and not just some figment of a half-asleep brain.

Implementing the fix took a bit longer than I expected, mostly scratching my head trying to figure out the exact database query I needed. I decided to try ChatGPT again, and had to grudgingly admit that it was very helpful. However, I think the key thing is that I was in the position to evaluate whether its answer was correct, and I had a failing test ready to prove it – I’m still not particularly worried that large language models are going to make developers redundant.

I’ve noticed a few ads lately for products designed to wean people off vaping. Given the fact that vapes were originally designed to do the same with cigarettes, I can’t help thinking this is all a bit “old lady who swallowed a fly”. Also there seems to be a big campaign at the moment to make smokers realise that their dog ends are litter, and aren’t biodegradable. Definitely a message I can get behind, although it’s a shame they haven’t adopted a friend’s slogan of “just because it’s on fire, doesn’t mean it’s not litter”.

Not done much drum practice this week. I’ve still been following the exercises in the book I bought [relatively] recently, and after a fairly painless experience with the basic quarter- and eighth-note patterns I suddenly hit a bit of a road block when trying to add accents to alternate notes. The accents themselves aren’t a problem, but it turns out a couple of years of not paying attention to limb independence means I’m really struggling to limit them to the hi-hat, rather than whacking the snare or kick extra-hard as well when they coincide. Not particularly related to that, but I’ve also been half-considering upgrading/switching an acoustic kit, as there are a few things with the e-drums that can be a bit annoying. However, I suspect I need to do a bit of thinking about noise levels first (despite being in a detached house).

I’ve made some progress with the Exercism #12in23 challenge this week. I’d done a couple of exercises from Ballerina, but wasn’t particularly enjoying it, so parked that and did the requisite five each from Go and Rust. I started looking at Pharo Smalltalk too, but so far have found the environment a bit hard to get started with. I feel like I should persevere to see what all the fuss is about, given how much love there seems to be for the language from people who used it back in the day.

A fairly light running week, in the lead up to the Stowmarket Half on Sunday, although it still included one “Run For” each of Coffee and Beer. The half itself went OK, but nothing special (a few seconds slower than last year, but half a minute slower than 2020). Always a good event though, and the annual opportunity for a team photo with farm machinery.

FRR at the Stow Half

One reply on “Weeknotes 2023-11”

[…] Last week I mentioned some minor annoyances with my electronic drums. The main one is that the hi-hat controller often fails to register that it’s closed, meaning you have to lift your foot up and try again until it gets the message. It occurred to me that maybe the solution would be to just replace that controller (or possibly the whole hi-hat assembly) with a better one, then a web search took me immediately to the details of an upgraded controller that the manufacturer has released for the same kit. Then somehow researching that I ended up on their firmware updates page, and noticed that there’ve been a couple of new versions released since I bought the drums. I downloaded the latest files, upgraded and did a factory reset (after a short delay while I scoured the house for a USB drive – funny how they used to be indispensable but now I hardly ever see one), and to my delight the pedal finally behaves correctly! Now I’m only limited by my lack of actual playing talent. […]

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