Hi all,

Bear with me as I try and get used to this newsletter writing, it'll take some experimenting.

A silly editor

Over the holidays I've been hacking away at Fancinote an ill-advised text-editor/notetaking app. My original goal was actually to write this newsletter in it, but alas.

Building a text-editor is probably a bad idea and I whole-heartedly encourage you to try it. Even if you end up without anything usuable you'll gain an appreciation for just how much thought goes into the most common place of computing tasks, and how much it shapes your thoughts.

Anyways, here it is:

It doesn't look like much yet but it works. It's heavily inspired by org-mode which I use to take notes and even run my website, for a bit.

The (currently unimplemented) keystone feature of Fancinote is embedded code blocks that interact with documents. I want to be able to write these newsletters in fancinote, and then write the code for sending them out, all in the same editor.

There are couple hard problems still to think about, like how to put all the documents and blocks in a database, but the project is almost usable.

As far as possible from fancinote,

I was really excited by Betrusted.io, a project aiming to build secure system from the ground up for your private matters. If you're interested in learning just what a challenge that entails dig into the introductory blog post Can we build trustable hardware by bunnie the projects lead/maintainer.

It's such whiplash reading about the challenges and constraints there after working on Fancinote, which is pretty much as high level as you can get.

Fathom-ing levels

There's a similar level disparity in my work on Fathom at the moment. I spent years working at a very strange abstraction level, trying to make a system of assessment, what I saw as the lowest level primitive in an educational structure, that operated on very high level assumptions of people and behavior, divorced from the concrete reality of people learning.

In the weeks before the holidays I started brainstorming with a friend concrete things we'd actually like to help people learn. Bringing things to this level feels good. There are things ranging from personal websites, to learning about learning theory. And with all the topics are a bunch of learning structures I'd like to experiment with like reading groups, staking systems, and a bunch of others.

(If the phrase "learning structure" means nothing to you, please let me know, I'm always curious how people think about these things).

On another totally different abstraction level:

I've been cooking!

It's Sorpotel, the closest thing to a traditional Christmas dish in my household. The color's a bit off (I didn't have a grinder so I couldn't use the right chilis) but it's delicious, and as this was my first Christmas away from my family, it was a much needed taste of home.

This is getting long, thanks for listening!

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