Drew DeVault's Blog

on Drew DeVault's blog

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.

An open letter to Senator Bob Casey on end-to-end encryption

To Senator Bob Casey, I’m writing this open letter.

The Abiopause

The sun has an influence on its surroundings. One of these is in the form of small particles that are constantly ejected from the sun in all directions, which exerts an outward pressure, creating an expanding sphere of particles that moves away from the sun. These particles are the solar wind. As the shell of particles expands, the density (and pressure) falls. Eventually the solar wind reaches the interstellar medium — the space between the stars — which, despite not being very dense, is not empty. It exerts a pressure that pushes inwards, towards the sun.

Thoughts on performance & optimization

The idea that programmers ought to or ought not to be called “software engineers” is a contentious one. How you approach optimization and performance is one metric which can definitely push my evaluation of a developer towards the engineering side. Unfortunately, I think that a huge number of software developers today, even senior ones, are approaching this problem poorly.

Fucking laptops

The best laptop ever made is the ThinkPad X200, and I have two of them. The caveats are: I get only 2-3 hours of battery life even with conservative use; and it struggles to deal with 1080p videos.