SIGAVDI #86: Fancy Ramen Edition

Hello friends,

Long time no write. I spent the summer at home with my kids. Quarantining in the woods with four small children turned out not be very conducive to writing. Or to doing most of my usual work, for that matter. I focused on keeping RubyTapas ticking along, and otherwise investing in family time, home improvements, and watching democracy fall apart.

I'll Trade Ya!

Hey there! Archived SIGAVDI letters are for newsletter subscribers only. All it costs to join (and unlock this post) is an email address! I'll write to you weekly-ish with a few interesting links, some updates, and some reflections on the intersection of software and life. And I'll respond to your replies! Whattya say?

A photo of Avdi Grimm

As a result, there’s a lot I could write about creek trips and building tire swings and catching lizards and replacing light fixtures and buying chainsaws and playing board games. But I don’t have much to say about software development right now.

What’s Good

Consulting my notes, I didn’t even save any interesting programming-related articles this summer. Here are a few articles I did enjoy this summer:

What’s New

Lately on RubyTapas I’ve been on a command-line one-liners kick. I also did a quick episode on using mitmproxy to spy on HTTP[S] traffic!

Have you played the card game Fluxx, or any of its variants? It’s a game with constantly-changing rules. You start out with a single rule card in the center of the table, e.g. “draw one, play one”. One type of card that can be played is a “New Rule” card, which may take the form of new rules for number of cards to draw, hold, or play; new victory conditions; etc.

“New Rule” cards gradually accumulate, or sometimes supplant incompatible older rules. Occasionally a card will trigger a complete reset of the rules.

Now that I’m reverting to work-mode for the school year, I’m transitioning back to thinking less about who painted the floor with Jell-O and more about moving projects forward. It’s time to define routines and set up systems. And I thought, why not treat personal organization like a game of Fluxx?

I came up with these ground rules:

  • Start with a blank sheet of cardstock (“the board”)
  • Write rules on sticky notes (“cards”), and stick them to the board.
  • The first card must be a rule about how to evolve the rules. Mine was: “Evolve this Board Every Sunday”.
  • All the rules have to fit on the sheet without obscuring each other.
  • The board is not comprehensive. Rules can be removed when they are obsolete, when they are supplanted, or if I have sufficiently internalized a habit that I no longer need an explicit reminder. Thus, “read every morning” doesn’t get a card, because I already do that without any prompting.
  • Revise the board regularly, according to the rule-for-changing-rules.

Thus, my first Fluxboard:

This board reflects a distinct “no TODO lists” philosophy. We’ll see how it ages and evolves.

I don’t have much else to say today. It’s been an isolating summer; I miss you, my friends. Write back, and tell me what you did this summer. What are you thinking about? What has you excited?



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