Mark Norman Francis

Internet Boffin

Weeknotes: 2015 Week 9

Published on April 13, 2015.

In the three weeks that have passed since my last weeknote, still not much has happened in terms of code.

During week 7, I was still saving all of my typing for use at work, so no more code. And in weeks 8 and 9 I took some time off from work.

Actually taking a holiday

Many previous times when I've had a fair chunk of time off (like, more than a long weekend) I have started by creating a checklist of things I want to get done. Then at the end of the my holiday I have felt bad about all of the things I didn't get done. As I said in week 0, because I want everything, I end up doing nothing.

This time, I made no list.

Although it was booked as holiday, I also went into it needing recuperation time. Physically and mentally, I needed not to be using a computer. So, going along with my goal this year of wiping my slate clean of excess and focusing on a small goal, I didn't allow myself any expectation that my holiday would be used for anything other than fun. I would let the wind carry me wherever.

That said, I did spend a day reading the GNU Make Manual and The GNU Make Book. Make is something I have declared should be a central part of my website generator, so it is clearly worthwhile my knowing as much as I can about it in advance. Knowing what is possible means I should be able to make better decisions than just trying looking at Make questions and answers on Stack Overflow.

The most interesting observation from my reading was that where a Makefile can include other subordinate Makefiles, it will also treat them as a target if the file doesn't exist. So I can use Make to make my Makefiles. That will come in handy, and is not an approach I've previously considered.

Encouragement

The other thing I've noticed is that when I've done little or nothing, I won't write a weeknote. And since I've basically been physically broken from the first week that I started keeping weeknotes, I've not had much to write about, and so had little motivation to write.

This morning on my way to work I get a notification from Tweetbot about a tweet from my friend Ryan. It's not the first time he's done this. He offered at the start to help, and I asked him to try and keep me honest. He's been doing a great job. I probably wouldn't have written this without his tweet because "I have read about Make" didn't seem worth writing to me. But knowing I had to write something anyway, my mind filled in the blanks during the day and here we are.

Thinking about it a little more though, I think it works for two reasons:

  1. Ryan is always upbeat. He tells me he is excited for me to do something, not asks me later why I hadn't. This makes me feel excited too, and so I'm much more likely to take the time to write something.

  2. I committed to writing on a specific day. If I had said I would post updates when I had them, Ryan wouldn't know when to encourage me without first asking if I had something to update on. Which would perhaps turn it more towards the nagging end of the spectrum.