Weekly Head Voices #243: Part-time role-model

Welcome back friends, welcome back me!

This WHV covers the multiple weeks from Monday May 23 to Sunday June 19, 2022.

It is this late, because it has been super busy at work (and at home), and by the time that I get any sort of opportunity to write, I am often too tired to focus.

I hope to say something about that a bit further down.

Whatever the case may be, I am happy to be here now, focusing on this post draft right here.

Figure 1: Scene from a walk in Betty’s Bay with the fam-jam.

Figure 1: Scene from a walk in Betty’s Bay with the fam-jam.

A drop in the bucket is a drop in the bucket

After taking a critical look at my discord subscription (I’m too old for animated emojis anyways), I decided to cancel that, and rather switch to (small) monthly subscriptions to two services I find really important: Signal (the private messaging app; I activated the sub via Apple) and Wikipedia.


It’s not that I have piles of cash to give away every month (come back in 6 months, hopefully that mythical ship will have come in), but I learned at a recent course on the topic that it is possible, and even prudent, to review critically and design with intent one’s strategy of giving.

What do you find important, and which organizations appear to be applying their resources effectively towards the furthering of their (and your) principles?

In that same vein, I subscribe (at the cheapest tier until ship comes in, see above) to one of the better local news sources, although their articles are available for free online. We live in a society… where functional and honest journalism is crucially important.

tip the tailscale

Some time back, a friend from work suggested tailscale as a tool to connect computers and devices, separated by firewalls, into a virtual private network

My brain helpfully surfaced this information about three weeks back when I wondered if there was a less painful way to connect to my home network from work via the OpenVPN server on my home router.

Well, it turns out that there’s a delightfully smooth way to connect the devices that you own together into a secure network, no matter behind which firewalls they might be hiding.

It’s called tailscale.

Within five minutes (literally) I had five of my devices hooked up, and suddenly I was able to make point-to-point wireguard connections from anywhere to anywhere, often via two firewalls, without having to click any buttons.

Each device is automatically assigned a “static” 100.*.*.* IP number, and hostnames can even be setup via tailscale MagicDNS, which is currently the switching of a single toggle.

TypeScript with Emacs and tree-sitter

In spite of the fact that I mostly use Visual Studio Code for my programming these days (Emacs is for everything else), a question on reddit’s /r/emacs caused me to go down the Emacs-TypeScript-and-tree-sitter rabbit-hole.

I wrote up most of the results of this adventure a vxlabs post titled TypeScript development with Emacs, tree-sitter and LSP in 2022.

After years of hearing its name mentioned, this was my first real contact with tree-sitter, which turns out to be a fascinating recent development in interactive source code parsing.

Thanks to tree-sitter, which was developed by the Atom editor team at GitHub, and the combination of LSP and Microsoft’s typescript compiler, Emacs (just like other open source editors), gets access to state-of-the-art code intelligence.

When the going gets tough, double-down on the side-projects

If anything, this is a note to myself, but maybe also to you.

As evidenced by the lateness of this post and the one before it, the weekly head voices had to take a backseat to other priorities.

However, writing posts on this here blog is one of my “show up to every day” things, and so the fact that my frequency is currently reduced probably has nothing to do with the general rickety raft of shifting life directions and priorities, but is indeed due to more urgent work sneakily taking precedence.

I have deliberately chosen the word “sneakily”, because when I start actually paying attention (an activity the frequency of which is ironically also reduced due to above-mentioned business), I realise that under these circumstances it becomes even more important to buckle down and make time for the side-projects.

I could waste time on YouTube and reddit, or I could apply some intent and create something interesting that is deliberately outside the broad umbrella of work.

It’s not that I don’t like work (I love it), but rather spending that carved-out time on side-projects is invigorating, and boosts creativity.

P.S. I like YouTube too, but it’s time:leisure ratio (I recently coined that term in a discussion with GOU#1 about her instagram usage) is not great.

Part-time (role-)model

I’ve discussed the following with a small number of friends (some of them my mentors; haha who am I kidding, they’re all my mentors) over the years, so it must be correct.

What I have learned over time, is that all of us are role models for fellow humans at various (hopefully high) points in time, but we won’t know when and we often won’t know for whom.

This knowledge has more than one important implication.

Firstly, we can never stop trying to be good humans, because we don’t know who might be depending on us at that moment.

This is reminiscent one of my favourite quotes, this one by Plato:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Secondly, we will always have those ups and those downs, and often it will feel like the ratio is hopelessly in the wrong direction.

I have explained to my children (my most important mentees, also the ones that seem to pay the least attention) that athough I often fail, I will always keep on trying.

Finally, even my own amazing mentors are humans who have ups and downs.

I love them for who they are, but I remember them at their best.