Wanted to do a 5 minute experiment with an unfamiliar API and was so absolutely and immediately beset by problems with codesigning, library compatibility with multiple architectures, auth tokens, and other environment setup things that I gave up before I even got to the first line of actual code.

Maybe I just got too old. None of this is fun any more.

@stevenf What I try to do is flow like water. Give up immediately 90% of the time, save my energy for the technologies that show they respect it.

@stevenf It's actually not fun anymore. And you can see it reflected in what gets made -- few people are making "regular computer" programs anymore. It's mostly web stuff, and also phone apps where you are railroaded into a very specific way to do things. Also sometimes "huge" projects where you are basically a barnacle attached to some gigantic piece of software helmed by a megacorp working on some small part of it (Chrome, etc.)

@stevenf I should add: it's not fun if you try to do it with all of the modern stuff. Cloud connected services, developer accounts, gigantic build toolchains and mountains of configuration files, that sort of thing. I often worked off of a Windows XP virtual machine when making Uxn32, and it was fine. And the 1998 VC6 compiler was easier to set up and use than the equivalent stack of stuff on modern Windows. Also has the benefit of the software it builds actually still running on modern Windows.

@cancel There's a direct loss of experimentation and creativity that I don't think most people realize the impact of because it's not measurable or tangible.

I used to do dumb, throwaway projects constantly. Sometimes they led to useful things down the road. Now I stop before I start.

@stevenf @cancel "Now I stop before I start" Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

@cancel @stevenf I've been doing things like this a ton over the past few months. Sometimes it ends up just being a README for some idea. Sometimes its a prototype for a semi-useful thing that works but then falls apart in the face of real data or some real world application. Sometimes it's just saving some little tweak in a config of a program I use that I came up with. Other times I'll add a feature to some open source thing that I know know one else cares about and I'll never make a PR for

@cancel @stevenf Thinking about it, I've learned a ton doing these little things, about unix, C and make files, and working with other people's code that I haven't curatd standards for. Even though not a single one of these projects feels very useful beyond myself and maybe a select few nerds, it feels, somehow, much more fulfilling than my profession web dev work. I keep wondering if I'll "wake up" and realize I've been wasting my time. But if I'm learning it's not a waste, I suppose

@stevenf @cancel this is what caused me to move to love2d from both "big" game engines and web, what has inspired all the movement around uxn, and there's got to be more cases where there's an alternative in your space if you eschew the norm.

My number of dumb throwaway projects has gone through the roof again over the last 3 years or so. I just create a directory and start writing a new main.lua.

@cancel @stevenf Go get one of the little embedded boards; they're great fun to play with. I had fun with a Pi Pico last year.

@stevenf I don't think you're too old and I feel the same. computers have gotten categorically less interesting because of all the stuff you mentioned. it sucks.


Your chart is ready, and can be found here:

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@stevenf FWIW this is exactly what got me hooked on pico-8: not so much the retro/game stuff, as the fact it’s a zero-faff coding environment. It made programming feel fun again, instead of an endless slog of yak shaving.

@stevenf Ha, yeah. 4 days to get a working environment, 2 days to fix code problems blocking a running program, 0.5 days to add the code.

Is this web dev? Web dev has gotten seriously complicated, and I’m glad I focus on the backend. Writing little CLI scripts/programs in whatever language is still fun.

@stevenf (Have you tried Python's Requests library, it's extremely lovely for this sort of work with both getting up and running, and with maintaining existing work later on)

@stevenf Asking because you also in the comments mention difficulty with experimentation and, I get and had that. For me part of that is mindset (seeing the 1000 steps before taking the first one is demotivating, as is a pressure to "do things properly" even when something is a literal toy), the other was tooling, and moving away from minimalist "tiny static software" like C/Whatever -- realising those ideological hangups got in the way and the only thing that actually matters in software is getting something made, otherwise it's vapourware and drawings on a page

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