WFH, Month 19

I was pretty heads-down on work this month. I’m working on a relatively greenfield project that’s had some fun opportunities to make architectural decisions. It’s very satisfying work, but it’s the type of work that stays stuck in your head, making it hard to switch out of “work mode” at the end of the day.

I feel really lucky to have a job that I enjoy, but after ~19 months of working from home, the lack of clear boundaries between “work” and “not work” continues to be a challenge. I’m a morning person, and it’s tempting/easy to just “start working” when I wake up, meaning that my days are frequently… longer than “normal working hours” than I’d like to admit.

It seems like the January 2022 return-to-office date just might stick (fingers crossed), and I’ve been going to work from an office a couple days a week. Looking forward to seeing coworkers in person again, and starting to rebuild routines that better timebox my working hours…

New Monitor

I’ve been using a ~10 year old Apple Cinema display (24", 1080p) for the duration of the COVID work-from-home. It was getting quite long-in-the-tooth, so I decided to upgrade to something slightly larger. I ended up settling on a 27" 4K Dell S2721QS, and it’s been great so far.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I don’t do much (any) desktop gaming anymore – and so many of the “gaming monitor” features that get really heavily pushed have little bearing on how I actually use a monitor. When I was researching which monitor to get, I weighted text clarity highest.

Upgrading from 1080p to 4K was pretty noticeable, as was going from a 24" to a 27" display. I wish I’d upgraded earlier – the comfort improvement alone was well worth it.


As part of the work project I mentioned, I’ve been working in Git again, after 2 years of using Google’s internal SCM. (This also prompted this month’s post on code review tools).

I have a lot more to say about this, but vanilla Git is just… not great, folks. As a Schelling point for a common standard for open source SCM, it’s great. Git as a “force in the world” has had a hugely positive influence. But, the day-to-day developer ergonomics leave a lot to be desired.

I’ve been using git-branchless, which recreates some of the Mercurial-esque workflow features that Google’s (and Facebook’s (“Meta’s”?)) internal SCMs use. Git-branchless is a step change in productivity above vanilla Git, in my opinion. The big idea is moving from a branch-based workflow to an amend-heavy stacked-commit workflow.

Over the past couple weeks, I started making some contributions to git-branchless. So far, I’ve added a couple interactive navigation commands to make it easier to traverse stacked commits. But, I have some additional ideas to smooth over some rough parts of my Git workflow that I’d like to see in git-branchless. It’s been a fun way to get some more exposure to Rust, and I’ve been picking up some knowledge about Git internals that’s been satisfying as well. Source control management is one of those things that sounds simple in theory, but when you actually working on the system’s internals in, you stumble upon a metis of experiential knowledge that exposes the depth of complexity inherent to the problem space.

There’s a surprisingly large ecosystem of adjacent Git tools based on a similar philosophy, which I was excited to discover.


Recursion (5/5): A sci-fi thriller with an unconventional take on time travel. Can’t say much more about the plot without spoilers, but I appreciated how thoroughly Recusion explored its premise. Very entertaining.

Die with Zero: Getting All You Can from Your Money and Your Life (4/5): Personal finance book. Explores the thesis that your goal should be to “die with $0” – e.g. spend down your lifetime earnings before you die. This is one of those books, where the audience really matters – it’s clearly aimed at well-off, but cautious/frugally-minded people. If you’re in the target audience, I think it has a pretty good message. Unfortunately, a lot of the advice boils down to “spend more on experiences”, which is a bit cliche now.

Fall of Koli (5/5): I finished reading the “Ramparts Trilogy”, and recommend it as good apocalyptic sci-fi. I wrote a bit about the first book back in August. The writing stayed consistently good throughout the series and the plots of the first two books paid off nicely in the third book.


I haven’t been watching much these days and, as one can tell, I mostly watch zeitgeisty things. 🤷‍♂️

Dune: Visually superb but, wow, would you be lost if you hadn’t read the book already. I was glad to hear that the “part 2” was green-lit.

Squid Game: Enjoyable, but leaned too hard into “shock factor” violence, and was about 2 episodes too long.

Happy Halloween! 🎃🍫

Cover: Ravenna Park, Seattle, WA