Weeknotes: 109

Work

This week I massively upgraded my work-from-home set-up. For months now I’ve been using my work-issued laptop, occasionally plugging it into my external monitors. I’ve been grumbling about performance (particularly when using docker-for-mac, which is a slow unstable resource hog), but this week a really obvious idea hit me: I have a far more powerful Linux machine right there which I’m not using during the working day! Why don’t I… work from a proper computer, rather than a laptop?

So now my daily work machine has a Ryzen 7 2700X with 8 cores, 64 GB RAM, two Dell UltraSharp U2717D 27" monitors, and a nice mouse and mechanical keyboard. Far better than a Macbook Pro. And it’s running Linux, so even if the hardware were exactly the same, docker would still perform better.

I also got to do a lot of programming this week, which was nice. Somehow the stars aligned and there was a dearth of meetings in the same week that there were a variety of clear tasks to work on, so I got stuck into one stream of work while two other devs on the team focussed on another.

Books

This week I read:

  • Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks, the third of the Culture series.

    Another one I’d read before. Reading this one while knowing the big twist at the end is a very different experience; it’s interesting picking out all the hints. Some spoilery examples:

    Like a scene where Zakalwe dreams he sees the ghost of the “real Zakalwe”, which you take to be figurative on a first reading—a sign that Zakalwe doesn’t feel like he really belongs where he currently is; but no, it really means Elethiomel is thinking of the real Zakalwe. Or the fact that Iain M. Banks never uses the authorial voice to name the character “Zakalwe”, it’s always “he”, “the man they called Zakalwe”, and so on; it’s only other characters who call him Zakalwe.

  • The State of the Art by Iain M. Banks, a short story collection and the fourth of the Culture series.

    I’d not read this one before. A few of the stories are just sci-fi, but most have some connection to the Culture. The titular story, which is most of the book, is about the Culture discovery of Earth in the 1970s, and the fate of one of the agents who falls in love with the planet. It also features Diziet Sma and Skaffen-Amitskaw, who were major characters in Use of Weapons.

Games

My Call of Cthulhu game has now reached what I consider the real beginning of the Masks of Nyarlathotep campaignThe player characters attending the reading of Jackson Elias’ will and agreeing to continue his investigation and try to bring his killers to justice.

, after 5 sessions. Things are already going a little differently to when I last ran this, so I’m looking forward to seeing how things turn out.

Network rebuild

The saga of the missing UPS package continues.

The last I heard from Ubiquiti support, on Wednesday, was that UPS needed to get in touch with me and wanted to confirm my phone number was correct. I confirmed it. UPS didn’t ring me on Thursday or Friday. If it gets to noon on Monday without a call, I’ll contact Ubiquiti again.

I’m not sure why UPS needs to contact me. The tracking information still says they’re doing an investigation, so it’s probably not to arrange delivery. If they’re certain it’s lost for good, I don’t know why they would let me know rather than Ubiquiti. The only thing I can think of is if the driver says he did deliver it and they want to check my story; I hope that’s not the case, because then this will just turn into my word against theirs, and it could drag on for even longer…

Miscellaneous

This week I set up automatic tagging for podcast episodes I download and CDs I rip, using systemd and inotify.