January 2017

New Keyboard

I finally caved and pre-ordered a Keyboard.io Model 01. This is an incredible-looking keyboard, carved out of solid wood, with an ergonomic split configuration, individually-sculpted keycaps, and all the trimmings. It’s a treat. I’ve been lusting over it for over a year, following their production newsletter. I’ve finally decided just before the new year (the “deadline” in the tweet refers to them giving away an extra keycap set if pre-ordered before the end of 2016) that I deserve to spend a bit of money on myself, so let’s go.

They’re hoping for a delivery around Q1 2017, I’m hoping to have it before May.

New laptop?

Not for me, yet. But my brother is looking into an upgrade before starting his second year at Uni (he got into med!) and was especially interested in the Surface Pro. One hitch: they’re very expensive.

We may have just found out a trick, though: by getting it through Amazon US and shipping it here, we save about $600 NZD off the in-NZ price, even if we get it at the cheapest source here. We’re looking hard to see if there’s a catch, but so far everything looks a-ok.

So if you’re looking for a Surface Pro…

Backup & Sync

I’ve been outlining and tentatively speccing out my “perfect” backup and sync solution. I briefly toyed with making it closed-source (to start with) but no, if anything comes out of it, it will be open-source just like everything else.

The ideas mostly come from missing a decent and modern syncing and backup daemon for Linux and other platforms. Something fire-and-forget, quietly working to provide the best it can without disrupting you. Something that can efficiently protect against ransom/encryption worms. Something that can be paused to save bandwidth yet still sync the most important things right now so you can work collaboratively on mobile connections and not have last night’s photos clog your upwards link. Or, even better, something that figures out that you’re on a slow connection and automatically prioritises syncs and backups without intervention at all.

Behind it, a library and utility that efficiently and correctly syncs a local and a remote, as a daemon and not just a single invocation (because Rsync already exists), that works on all major platforms, and completely handles that state may change on either side during its run. More than that, a library that does not mandate the actual transport or endpoints, so it can be used to power sync engines for not only my “something” above, but also Google Drive, Dropbox, etc third-party clients.


I’ve released Cargo Watch 3.1.1, a minor update to upgrade dependencies, notably the Notify library to version 3. That brought event debouncing, which should solve a few of the most common issues encountered.

Nonetheless, Cargo Watch has been more or less supplanted by watchexec, which I have to admit is a superior albeit more generic alternative. I’m debating retiring Cargo Watch, and focusing instead wholly on Notify. That, or making Cargo Watch into more of a development tool than it was, and integrating features such as port and socket management as first-class features, perhaps combining the essential functionality of Node’s nodemon and Ruby’s foreman into a single tool for the Cargo/Rust ecosystem.


(This isn’t new this month, but I got a question about it the other day.)

Not sure where I encountered this, but it’s a Jack of Hearts. (In case you can’t see, the title of this section is the Unicode symbol for that playing card.) Think “Jack of all trades”. It means (apparently, and that’s how I use it for me) “pan/bi-amorous and poly-amorous”.


I didn’t listen to anything new until the New Year, as is my habit. During the year, all the music I like goes into a big playlist called “Sort”. Then at the end of the year I pick a name for my yearly playlist based on stars (first one was “Level Orion”, then came “Rain Stars”, “Llama Shepherd”, and this year’s “Carrier of the Dawn”), and go through the Sort playlist sequentially, either discarding or sorting into the yearly playlist and/or any of the few thematic playlists I maintain (“Music for Making” for writing/coding music, “Sing”, “Music Box” for songs I’d like to cover, etc).

This year the “Sort” playlist counted over 450 songs, and took me about two weeks to go through. The “Carrier of the Dawn” playlist now numbers 224 tracks.

While last year my listening was dominated by Blue Man Group, Eiffel, and Woodkid, this year I’ve enjoyed a lot of Jin Oki, Thomas Bergensen, Zero 7, Ásgeir, Hiromi, and some 19th century compositors like Chopin and Beethoven. Of course, the full list is much more varied than just these seven.

In the past 10 days I’ve started listening to new music again.