Seven long and perilous months have gone by since my previous
what feels like an eternity, and yet feels like a day — Nothing and
everything has happened.
All I can add to the situation in my country, that I’ve already drawn countless times, is that my expectations weren’t fulfilled. Indeed, after a governmental void and a horrific explosion engulfing a tremendous part of the capital, I’m not sure any words can express the conflicting feelings and anger I have. Today marks exactly 1 year since the people started revolting.
Sentimentalities aside, let’s get to what I’ve been up to.
Psychology, Philosophy & Books
Explanation: My reading routine has been focused one part on heavy technical books, and one part on leisure books.
On the leisure side, I’ve finished the following books:
- The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why violence declined — Stephen Pinker
- The Book of M — Peng Shepherd
- The Gene — Siddhartha mukherjee
- The second sex — Simone de Beauvoir
- Aphorism on Love and Hate — Nietzsche
- How To Use Your Enemies — Baltasar Gracian
- Zadig ou La Destinée — Voltaire
- Great Expectations — Charles Dickens [ongoing]
While on the technical side, I’ve finished these bricks:
- Computer Architecture: A Quantitative approach - Hennesy Patterson
- Beyond Software Architecture - Creating and sustaining winning solutions — Luke Hohmann
- Compilers/dragon book - Aho Lam Seth Ullman
- Operating system concepts - Silberschatz [ongoing]
Obviously, I still want to build a bookshelf, however the current situation has postponed this project.
As far as podcasts go, I’ve toned down on them and only listen when exercising; which doesn’t amount to much compared to when I was commuting to work.
Life Refresh & Growth
Explanation: As you might have already noticed, I’ve redesigned my blog. I tried to give it more personality and to be more reflective of who I am as a person.
That involved reviewing the typography, adding meta-tags and previews, adding relevant pictures for every articles, including general and particular descriptions for sections of the blog, and more.
As far as software architecture goes, I’m still on the learning path which consists of reading articles, watching videos, and trying to apply the topics to real scenarios. Recently, I’ve started following Mark Richards’ and Neil Ford’s Foundations Friday Forum, which is a monthly webinar on software architecture.
When it comes to articles, that’s where I’ve put the most energy. Here’s the list of new ones.
- The Self, Metaperceptions, and Self-Transformation: One of my favorite article about the self and growth. It has been influenced by theories from Carl Jung and Nietzsche.
- Software Distributions And Their Roles Today: This is an article I had in mind for a long while but didn’t get to write. It was initially supposed to be a group discussion as a podcast but I ended up writing it as an article, and then recording a podcast too.
- Time on Unix: My biggest and most complete article to date. I consider it an achievement, and it has been well received by readers. It’s now the goto article when it comes to time.
- Domain Driven Design Presentation: The transcript of a talk I’ve given for the MENA-Devs community.
- Evolutionary Software Architecture: An article where I apply my knowledge of software architecture to explain a trending topic.
- D-Bus and Polkit, No More Mysticism and Confusion: There’s a lot of confusion and hate about dbus and everything around it. I personally had no idea what these tech implied so I wrote an article and found out for myself if the hate was justified.
- Computer Architecture Takeaways: An article reviewing my knowledge on computer architecture after reading a book on it.
- Notes About Compilers: Another article reviewing my knowledge on compilers after finishing the dragon book and other related content.
- Did You Know Fonts Could Do All This?: Fonts is a topic that is very deep and complex, you can talk endlessly about it. In this particular article, I had a go at different settings and how they affect the rendering of fonts.
- Corruption Is Attractive!: I’m fascinated by glitch art, and so I wrote an article about it, trying to sum up different techniques and give my personal view of what it consists of.
Recently, I’ve also had an Interview with my friend Oday on his YouTube channel. We had an interesting talk.
Now on the programming language side, I’m hoping on the bandwagon and learning Rust. I’m still doing baby steps.
When it comes to personal fun, I’ve stopped my Elevate subscription because of the spending restriction my country has implemented. But instead, I’ve started with a word of the day app.
Explanation: Finally, I’ve pushed my research about mushrooms in Lebanon online. It’s here and is composed of a map with information about each specimen.
I hope to soon go hike and discover new ones.
Unix, Nixers, 2bwm
Explanation: There were a lot of ups and downs in the nixers community the past few months. We had to detach ourselves from the previous people that managed IRC because of their unprofessional and unacceptable behavior. Soon after, I’ve created our own room on freenode, and since then things have gone smoothly. That was until hell happened around me and I decided to close the forums. However, the community made it clear that they wanted to help and keep it alive and well. Thus, I retracted my decision and started implementing mechanisms to make the forums more active such as: A thread of the week, a gopher server, a screenshots display, fixed dmarc for emails, and fix the forums mobile view.
I’ve also uploaded all the previous year’s video compilation on YouTube.
When it comes to 2bwm, we finally added support for separate workpaces per monitor.
Explanation: A friend of mine recently invited me to be part of his CTF team for the national competition. Lo and behold a couple of months later we win the national competition, get 2nd place in the b01lers CTF, and get 1st place in the Arab & Africa CybertTalents regional CTF.
In the coming months I’ll train on topics I haven’t dealt with before.
Ascii Art & Art
Explanation: I haven’t drawn too many pieces recently, however I’d rather emphasize quality over quantity. You can check my pieces here.
Additionally, I’ve tried to make my RedBubble
Shop more attractive, maybe it’ll help in
these hard economic times. Otherwise, it’s always nice to have it around.
Other than that, I’ve joined the small tilde.town community, which also has a love for ascii art.
Life and other hobbies
Explanation: Life has been a bit harsh recently but I’ve tried to make the most of it.
We started gardening my father and I, we planted everything from
sunflowers, cucumbers, tomatoes, rocca, parsley, cilantro, zucchinis,
eggplants, bell peppers, hot peppers, ginger, green beans, garlic,
onions, and more.
After the tomato harvest, we made our own tomato sauce and pasteurized it — It was heaven.
Recently, I’ve visited a local farm called Gout Blanc, it was a fun experience, but marked in time by the reality of the economic crisis we are in. The owners were wonderful and friendly.
Like anyone in this lock down, I’m going through a bread making phase. I quite enjoy ciabatta bread with halloum:
When the initial lock down started, I ordered some joysticks to play
retro games with my brother, little did I know that I would only get
them 5 months later. My brother left Lebanon to continue his study in
France by that time, but I still got a retro-gaming setup.
Like many people close to me, he left for better pastures…
An anecdote, I’ve started to be hassled by Google and YouTube. I simply cannot open a video these days without being asked to fill captchas, so I’ve gotten quite good at finding cars, traffic light, and other trifles in random pictures. More than that, the kind of ads I’ve been getting are of the weirdest kind. Just take a look.
What’s in store for tomorrow… I’m not sure anymore. There hasn’t been more of a need for change.
This is it!
As usual… If you want something done, no one’s gonna do it for you, use your own hands, even if it’s not much.
And let’s go for a beer together sometime, or just chill.
Internet Archive Book Images, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons
Claud Field, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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