thursday, may 9, 2019

a may snow, all day
the skies gray and
the grass growing taller
while it falls, tulips
blooming round the side of the house
the frogs across the street
sounding low and slow through
the patter of barely frozen
water falling on the just-unfolding
leaves

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Thesis: The complexity ratchet in technology is designed (or has evolved, take your pick) to drive the concentration of administrative power.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

App::WRT v6.0.0.

Links:

Despite the bump in major version number, this one is mostly a bugfix release. A hypothetical user wouldn’t notice many changes, but I’m rearranging things further in a direction I started on a year ago, abstracting interaction with the underlying directory structure to a class that caches the full set of entries and some metadata about them. More on this in the latest commit message.

This kind of change has gotten easier as I’ve added more tests, even if the tests themselves are sort of ridiculous, which is a useful lesson.

As I wrote last year:

This was an interesting way to kill some time, both because I revisited an algorithm I’d forgotten about, and because every time I hack on a project like this I’m in a dialog with basic decisions I made before I knew how to write software at all. And maybe, by the same token, looking with fresh eyes at norms that I’d take for granted in any more modern context. wrt isn’t a good piece of software by any contemporary standard, and the approach it represents isn’t one I’d use for anything bigger than a trivial shell script at my day job, but there’s a curious durability to it all the same.

Every few years I revisit some facet of this tiny, mundane tool and apply a bit of understanding I lacked when it was first written, and some structure comes a little clearer that lives in the space between my ignorance at 20 and my experience, such as it is, at whatever age I’ve reached.

Monday, May 6, 2019

reading: the raven tower

(Structural spoilers may follow.)

Previously:

Leckie’s earlier novels have fallen roughly in the space opera / military SF zone. This one is fantasy, with recognizable genre apparatus (swords, horses, fortresses, hereditary nobility, etc.), but in terms of plot mechanics and tone it’s not a radical departure. It’s concerned with a world where gods are real and intervene routinely in human life, but once you grant the basic premise it unfolds a system of rules and consequences in a way that rings far more science fictional than mystical or theological in the usual sense.

I read the whole thing in a sitting last night, having wrecked my ability to fall asleep by combining too much of microbrew, espresso, and cheap cigars into a low-level panic attack, so I was grateful for the distraction.

The ending felt a little rushed, but on the whole I think the author may have gotten better at pacing since her first big trilogy. I would happily spend more time with these characters. Recommended.

saturday, may 4, 2019

few animals
are as satisfying to contemplate
as the bumble bee, all round and
purposeful