Drew DeVault's Blog

Status update, May 2020

Hello, future readers! I am writing to you from one day in the past. I finished my plans for today early and thought I’d get a head start on writing the status updates for tomorrow, or rather, for today. From your reference frame, that is.

We are complicit in our employer's deeds

Tim Bray’s excellent “Bye Amazon” post inspired me to take this article off of my backlog, where it has been sitting for a few weeks. I applaud Tim for stepping down from a company that has demonstrated itself incompatible with his sense of right and wrong, and I want to take a moment to remind you that the rest of us in the tech industry have the same opportunity — no, the same obligation as Tim did.

How to store data forever

As someone who has been often maligned by the disappearance of my data for various reasons — companies going under, hard drive failure, etc — and as someone who is responsible for the safekeeping of other people’s data, I’ve put a lot of thought into solutions for long-term data retention.

Configuring aerc for git via email

I use aerc as my email client (naturally — I wrote it, after all), and I use git send-email to receive patches to many of my projects. I designed aerc specifically to be productive for this workflow, but there are a few extra things that I use in my personal aerc configuration that I thought were worth sharing briefly. This blog post will be boring and clerical, feel free to skip it unless it’s something you’re interested in.

Status update, April 2020

Wow, it’s already time for another status update? I’m starting to lose track of the days stuck inside. I have it easier than many - I was already used to working from home before any of this began. But, weeks and weeks of not spending IRL time with anyone else is starting to get to me. Remember to call your friends and family and let them know how you’re doing. Meanwhile, I’ve had a productive month - let’s get you up to date!

My unorthodox, branchless git workflow

I have been using git for a while, and I took the time to learn about it in great detail. Equipped with an understanding of its internals and a comfortable familiarity with tools like git rebase — and a personal, intrinsic desire to strive for minimal and lightweight solutions — I have organically developed a workflow which is, admittedly, somewhat unorthodox.

Designing and 3D printing a new part for my truck

I drove a car daily for many years while I was living in Colorado, California, and New Jersey, but since I moved to Philadelphia I have not needed a car. The public transit here is not great, but it’s good enough to get where I need to be and it’s a lot easier than worrying about parking a car. However, in the past couple of years, I have been moving more and more large server parts back and forth to the datacenter for SourceHut. I’ve also developed an interest in astronomy, which benefits from being able to carry large equipment to remote places. These reasons, among others, put me into the market for a vehicle once again.

The reckless, infinite scope of web browsers

Since the first browser war between Netscape and Internet Explorer, web browsers have been using features as their primary means of competing with each other. This strategy of unlimited scope and perpetual feature creep is reckless, and has been allowed to go on for far too long.

Status update, March 2020

Hi there! I hope you’re reading this post snuggled up comfortably in your quarantine. Since I work from home, it’s not too different for me — I’m just brewing my own coffee instead of going to the coffee shop on the corner. Big thanks to everyone who’s taking their own measures to keep at-risk populations safe, and courage to those who are being hit the hardest. Let’s get that off our minds for a bit and enjoy some cool updates on projects you like.

GitHub's new notifications: a case of regressive design

Disclaimer: I am the founder of a company which competes with GitHub. However, I still use tools like GitHub, GitLab, and so on, as part of regular contributions to projects all over the FOSS ecosystem. I don’t dislike GitHub, and I use it frequently in my daily workflow.