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Recurse Center Blagg – Jan 8, Day 5

You better believe I’m bloggin again!!!!!!!

Whew, OK! Well, one thing that hasn’t changed from my regular work life is that I tend to do my best programming earlier in the week, and by Friday I’m usually only good for smaller or non-technical tasks. Not saying I’m totally hosed at this point, but it’s been a real week of a week!

After my last post on Wednesday afternoon:

Resubmitted my Chrome extension to the Chrome store following an automatic rejection for having declared a permission I didn’t need – I was confused about “activeTab” vs. “tabs”, since the former is really all you’re supposed to use for most single-page actions but it looks like it’s calling the latter API on paper, and it turns out that most extensions absolutely don’t need access to all tabs at all times, so I’ve sorted that out. On reviewing the code, though, it actually looks pretty robust beyond that, which I feel better about – I felt like I wrote it in a bit of a slapdash daze on first go, but it turns out that I am more or less up to the task of shipping a simple Chrome extension in a day, so, great!

Had a fun chat with Julia Evans about QEMU, since she was hitting the limits of VirtualBox’s portability and scripting support, which was what drove me to migrate to QEMU myself for some of my VMs a few weeks ago. From the sound of things I may have mostly succeeded in creating a bigger afternoon headache for her, but I like her work so much that I was frankly just happy to be able to share some knowledge.

Got started with react-native, which involved rigging together a Visual Studio compiler environment, which is not my favourite thing, at all – I had some experience with this for a past project, but it sucks, and sure enough, I lost an hour to trying to finagle just the build tools as opposed to the whole IDE, figuring out whether I needed 2017 vs. 2019, running some godforsaken Powershell script that wouldn’t initialize the dependencies properly half the time even though it was complaining about a binary that clearly existed, etc… I switched halfway through complaining about this to trying to make it work on my Mac instead, and the resulting XCode headache was almost as bad. Everything is working and building now on both machines, but that was enough of that for now.

Got a pull request on Does It Beep! My empire grows! Recursers have been very polite about my self-promotion of all my silliest projects…

Wanted to feel like I’d gotten a little more coding done after all that, so I added an asked-for feature to allowing you to pass a dad-haver to the URL (e.g. – this was the one feature that a friend asked for when I launched this project initially, and it helps significantly with shareability. It was pretty straightforward (read: elegant), but given that I also put off doing it for six months and managed to learn more about the flexibility of Flask templating while implementing it, it still felt pretty worthwhile.

Started following this Rust and Webassembly book that I think I saw linked by Max Bittker when I was hanging around Wordhack last summer. WebASM is, broadly speaking, the other part of my frontend dev skillset I’d like to fill out after react-native stuff, and though my experience of Rust so far is “it looks like Perl… and… C?” I’m finding it doable enough, so that’s nice. Also going to a gamedev meetup this afternoon at Recurse, so there’s a chance it’ll be useful there.

I am really happy with the pace of this week! I hope I can keep it up! I’m still statically linking all these “blog” entries to the main page of my portfolio because I haven’t quite felt like committing to a TOC and an RSS feed yet, but… I think I am on the verge of redefining my short-term productivity standards to the point of counting that as a “downtime” task (yikes), so stay tuned.