w/e 2023-11-05

By admin
Given I’ve been home alone all week it’s unsurprising that it’s been a quiet week. I’ve been keeping busy-ish, which is the way to stay sane. I left the house to go food shopping,

three
CARDINAL

gym trips, and a short night-time drive to the local cider farm / restaurant / venue to see their

Guy Fawkes’ Night(ish
PERSON

) bonfire.

§ I hesitate to mention again my current renewed attempt to learn a language because, like every other time, there’s a good chance it won’t go far, and then – as so often – I’ll feel foolish for writing excitedly about something here only for it to fizzle out or to become a chore. And when I occasionally realise quite how far I am from understanding regular written

German
NORP

– never mind having conversations in it – that seems even more likely.

But, still, also, there’s that thing about sharing thoughts and experiences that might (a) encourage other people, (b) rightfully put other people off, or (c) result in other people sharing useful tips with me. So.

Because I haven’t had much else pressing

this week
DATE

I’ve spent quite a bit of time on it. Each day doing:


Two
CARDINAL

bouts of

Duolingo
PRODUCT

, of

about 20 minutes
TIME

each. Duolingo definitely isn’t enough on its own to learn a language, never mind understand it (it explains very little). But even having made my profile private (the only way to hide some of the gamification, like leaderboards) it’s addictive, which makes it better than something you don’t want to do, and so don’t do. Last time I used it I realised how easy it was to get through lessons without understanding much. You can fill in the correct missing word without reading or hearing the rest of the sentence. You can put the words in the correct order without thinking about what the sentence means. Etc. So I’m taking more time now, trying to compose a sentence in my head before looking at the mixed-up words (with varying success), and speaking each

German
NORP

sentence out loud and thinking about it.


20-30 minutes
TIME

of watching

German
NORP

TV which, currently, is

half
CARDINAL

an episode of Dogs of Berlin , more of which when I’ve finished it. It’s quite hard to concentrate on the

German
NORP

, rather than read the subtitles and enjoy the show, as usual with foreign-language TV/movies. I understand very little, especially in this show. Maybe they talk quickly, or have accents, but there have only been a couple of characters who’ve sounded clear (but still largely incomprehensible to me).

Each day I’m alternating between a lesson of the

A2
PRODUCT

stage of

Nico
PERSON

’s

Weg
PRODUCT

on

dw.com
ORG

, and the Goldlist Method for learning vocabulary. The latter has been easy so far because it’s only involved writing down lists of short phrases; I haven’t got to the stage of trying to remember them yet.

If I remember I listen to the

daily
DATE


Langsam Gesprochene Nachrichten
PERSON

(Slowly Spoken News) podcast, again from

dw.com
ORG

, which is short … and … very … slow. I understand almost nothing.

I’ve just started reading a page or

two
CARDINAL

of a book of short stories I’ve had for ages, in parallel

German
NORP

and

English
LANGUAGE

. Obviously I understand none of it without the translation but, still, worth a try.

I doubt I’ll keep all of that up – never mind add some conversation at some point – once I have other things to do. But for now I have the time and it’s good to try out lots of stuff to see what’s interesting and what seems to work. And even things that seem way beyond my comprehension at the moment (like most of it) might just start to seem possible if I keep at them for…

three months
DATE

? I don’t know. We’ll see.

I also bought

Hammer
PERSON

’s

German
NORP

Grammar and Usage which is such a

Phil Gyford
PERSON

thing to do: buy the most authoritative and heftiest book about the subject, even if it’s probably not the best way to learn about it, on the basis that it’ll make me feel most like I’m Doing It Properly.

§ I’ve done a bit of work on ooh.directory

each day this week
DATE

, on new things and trying to fix things (see

Stack Overflow
PRODUCT

).

On the one hand I still really enjoy writing code and making something work and look good (ish) and put it online where anyone in the world can see it. It’s still like magic. And is still some kind of personal affirmation, a way of saying “here I am!”, of enjoying that it’s noticed by someone, somewhere.

On the other hand, the maintenance. It’s not like this is new to me, keeping things going for

years,
DATE


decades
DATE

. And I try to make this as easy as possible – keep stuff up to date, make projects in similar ways, stick to reliable and boring technologies, don’t start too many sites, etc. But, especially when several things aren’t quite working right, it’s such a weight. A weight that will go on forever (that’s not a thing,

Phil
PERSON

). I can barely imagine what it must be like to not have a website (never mind several) that needs occasional attention. Sometimes the hobby feels too much like a (very part-time) job that I can’t quit.

§ I gave the free trial of the

Kagi
ORG

search engine a go over

the past couple of weeks
DATE

. It seems fine? I didn’t get round to comparing the results with

Google
ORG

’s before my searches ran out but it looks nicer and simpler, with no ads, and more ability to tweak results (like exclude certain sites). I feel it should be worth US$

5/month
DATE

for a good

non-Google
ORG

search but I’m not sure the difference is enough to me. I also realised that the

one
CARDINAL

thing about

Google
ORG

’s info boxes I use a lot is the opening times for places.

I finished reading

Russell
PERSON

’s Do Interesting book which was good and lovely. Gentle, comprehensible, encouraging, nice. Well done,

Russell and co.
ORG

§ I watched some films on telly (the

first
ORDINAL


two
CARDINAL

on

iPlayer
ORG

, the

second
ORDINAL


two
CARDINAL

on MUBI):

Sweetheart (

Marley Morrison
PERSON

,

2021
DATE

). Really enjoyed this, a

17-year-old
DATE

girl on holiday with her family, Treads a nice line between comedy and emotionally touching. Maybe a bit

Mike Leigh-y
PERSON

? I’m also keen to find more films set in

British
NORP

caravan parks because they have their own special feeling.

(

Marley Morrison
PERSON

,

2021
DATE

). Really enjoyed this, a

17-year-old
DATE

girl on holiday with her family, Treads a nice line between comedy and emotionally touching. Maybe a bit

Mike Leigh-y
PERSON

? I’m also keen to find more films set in

British
NORP

caravan parks because they have their own special feeling.

Licorice Pizza
ORG

(

Paul Thomas Anderson
PERSON

,

2021
DATE

). This was fun, with great performances from the

two
CARDINAL

leads. Very good and would have been better if it had been shorter, like most movies

longer than two hours
TIME

.

(

Paul Thomas Anderson
PERSON

,

2021
DATE

). This was fun, with great performances from the

two
CARDINAL

leads. Very good and would have been better if it had been shorter, like most movies

longer than two hours
TIME

. L’Innocent (

Louis Garrel
PERSON

,

2022
DATE

). This could have been bad in other hands, because it’s a bit silly, but it kind of works and was good fun.

(

Louis Garrel
PERSON

,

2022
DATE

). This could have been bad in other hands, because it’s a bit silly, but it kind of works and was good fun. Passages (

Ira Sachs
PERSON

,

2023
DATE

). I read lots of good things about this but I got increasingly bored. I don’t mind unlikeable characters but

Tomas
PERSON

was not only petulant, immature and self-centred, but was also boring. Like,

Leon
PERSON

in

Afire
PERSON

kept being a bit of a dick, in a different way, but there was more to him, an inner conflict other than mere frustration at not getting his own way.

§ I’m sure you’ve been waiting for this update: Backblaze has picked up speed and has now uploaded

64.9%
PERCENT

of the

1.5m
QUANTITY

files, and

11.5%
PERCENT

of the

547
CARDINAL

GB.

I certainly know how to keep people coming back for more. hashtag growth hacking