Web Excursions 2021-06-10

A Project of One's Own

  • Working on a project of your own is as different from ordinary work as skating is from walking.

    • It's more fun, but also much more productive.

  • You have moments of happiness when things work out, but they don't last long, because then you're on to the next problem.

  • So why do it at all?

    • Because to the kind of people who like working this way, nothing else feels as right.

    • You feel as if you're an animal in its natural habitat, doing what you were meant to do

    • — not always happy, maybe, but awake and alive.

  • We treat "playing" and "hobbies" as qualitatively different from "work".

    • It's not clear to a kid building a treehouse that there's a direct (though long) route from that to architecture or engineering.

    • It's a bit sad to think of all the high school kids turning their backs on building treehouses and sitting in class dutifully learning about Darwin or Newton to pass some exam,

      • when the work that made Darwin and Newton famous was actually closer in spirit to building treehouses than studying for exams.

    • When I was picking startups for Y Combinator, I didn't care about applicants' grades.

      • But if they'd worked on projects of their own, I wanted to hear all about those.

  • There turn out to be two senses in which work can be one's own:

    • that you're doing it voluntarily, rather than merely because someone told you to, and

    • that you're doing it by yourself.

  • People who care a lot about their work

    • are usually very sensitive to the difference between pulling, and being pushed, and work tends to fall into one category or the other.

    • But the test isn't simply whether you're told to do something.

    • You can choose to do something you're told to do.

      • Indeed, you can own it far more thoroughly than the person who told you to do it.

  • Collaboration[s] [can be done] in two different ways.

    • One way to collaborate is to share a single project.

    • The other way is when multiple people work on separate projects of their own that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle

  • The mere expression "work/life" embodies a mistake: it assumes work and life are distinct.

    • It's easy for something new to feel like a project of your own.

    • That's one of the reasons for the tendency programmers have to rewrite things that don't need rewriting, and to write their own versions of things that already exist.

  • If you can find the right people, you only have to tell them what to do at the highest level.

    • They'll handle the details. Indeed, they insist on it.

  • For a project to feel like your own, you must have sufficient autonomy.

    • You can't be working to order, or slowed down by bureaucracy.

    • One way to ensure autonomy is not to have a boss at all. There are two ways to do that:

      • to be the boss yourself, and

      • to work on projects outside of work.

    • Though they're at opposite ends of the scale financially, startups and open source projects have a lot in common, including the fact that they're often run by skaters.

  • If your projects are the kind that make money, it's easy to work on them.

    • It's harder when they're not. And the hardest part, usually, is morale.

    • That's where adults have it harder than kids.

  • The most important phase in a project of one's own is at the beginning: when you go from thinking it might be cool to do x to actually doing x.

    • And at that point high standards are not merely useless but positively harmful.

  • Ideally we can have the best of both worlds: to be deliberate in choosing to work on projects of our own, and carelessly confident in starting new ones.


Multiple-document interface - Wikipedia

[Context: Vivaldi 4.0 | Hacker News, where leokennis says "I was an avid Opera user around 2004. True MDI interface, mouse gestures…"]

  • multiple-document interface (MDI) is a graphical user interface in which multiple windows reside under a single parent window.

    • Such systems often allow child windows to embed other windows inside them as well, creating complex nested hierarchies.

    • This contrasts with single-document interfaces (SDI) where all windows are independent of each other.

  • Mac OS and its GUI are document-centric instead of window-centric or application-centric.

    • Every document window is an object with which the user can work.

    • The menu bar changes to reflect whatever application the front window belongs to.

    • Application windows can be hidden and manipulated as a group, and the user may switch between applications (i.e., groups of windows) or between individual windows, automatically hiding palettes, and most programs will stay running even with no open windows.

    • Indeed, prior to Mac OS X, it was purposely impossible to interleave windows from multiple applications.


Optimizing PDFs for Printers | PSPDFKit

  • Targeting the Correct DPI

    • Screens traditionally had a DPI of 72, but today they’re typically anywhere between 96 and 200

    • your average home printer will generally stick to a DPI of 300 or 600.

    • One common mistake often made is that of producing a PDF containing an image with a DPI much higher than that of the printer being printed to.

    • Another is to have data for a large image inside your PDF that ends up being inserted at a much smaller size on the page.

    • Many printers have limited graphical memory — some might only have 1 GB of RAM

  • Stripping Unneeded Content

    • JavaScript and forms

    • every edit performed to that document even if previous edits aren’t used.

  • Shared Objects

    • PDFs support including the data once in the file and sharing it between pages via objects.

    • When generating your PDF file, if you have an image you want to repeat, insert it into your PDF as an object and then reference it from your other pages.