awarm.spacenewsletter | fast | slow

Trying out some structure

I spent the last week out in the finger lakes region of New York, hanging out with my family. I'm feeling really lucky we got a chance to spend that time together. Since then they've either made or are making, their way back to Dubai, where things seem just a little less crazy. But, like Warren Ellis said in his last newsletter "No, seriously, I'm not talking about it."

I've been making progress on coding up v2. This is the first "traditional" web app I've put together. I've had to figure out how to handle things like passwords, email verification, managing accounts state. It's been quite frustrating.

I've found that I almost have a physical response when working on things that exceed my cognitive capacity. I don't mean things that I'm too dumb to understand, but when things have too many moving parts for me to keep track of. There's this nervous/unsettled feeling I get every time I write code that I don't understand the life-cycle of.

Oh! Quick poll. I impulse bought the domain name Thoughts on it vs hyperlink?

Anyways, one of the features that was the most fun to implement was Discourse's Single Sign On system. I've mentioned before, but Discourse is such an incredible piece of software. It's going to be the social layer of, and I think it's powerful enough (and usable enough) to power some really meaningful courses. Really, more folks should be running internet forums! Getting Discourse up and running is a little bit more work than setting up a personal website, but not by much! Of course, the technical aspect isn't the hard part, but the best way to learn the social moderation is just try it out! (Or at least that's my hope for myself.)

Alrighty, the rest of this newsletter is going to be an experiment in form, with a section for what I've been writing, linking to things on the blog, and another on what I plan to work on over the coming week, linking out to gitlab issues. My worry is that these sections will get a little formulaic, but my hope is that they can add some structure, both to this newsletter and to my work! Let me know how it works out!

What have I been writing?

I wrote up some quick thoughts on analytics on my website. I didn't talk about it much in there, but this newsletter also has rudimentary analytics implemented. Buttondown let's me know how people opened the newsletter, and how many folks clicked on links inside. It's a rough proxy, but it gestures at how relevant folks find what I'm writing. At the same time, tracking is gross, so I may just turn it off...

As a reader, how do you feel about these kinds of analytics? I'd love to know.

I also wrote up these Requests for Tools. They're just short blurbs on things I kinda want to build but really just wish existed. If anything in there sounds up your alley, hmu! That page is going to be my way to exorcise ideas I can't leave alone out of my head. Maybe I should style it up with some candles.

What am I working on?

1. Adding course instances to

This is my big goal. I want to get (or whatever it gets called) "done" by the end of the week and start working on the first course for it. Currently I'm thinking something to do with building websites, maybe building a static site generator?

2. Writing out a spec for Fancynote MVP

I haven't worked on fancynote much since the first issues of this newsletter. The urge to work on it was rekindled by reading through Andy Matuschak's notes over the last couple days. This time I'm going to start by defining what I want to get out of the experiment.

3. Restarting the personal website tours

These personal website tours were a highlight of last year for me. It's just great to chat to folks about a thing they spend a lot of time tweaking, and rarely get to show under the hood. Anyways, I'll be reaching out to folks this week, so if anyone here wants to chat, or knows someone who does, please reach out! You can just reply to this email. email.

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