February updates - goals for 2024

Good Morning,

I’ve had a productive weekend this weekend. Felt a lot more focused and on track than I have been in a long time. Starting to finally feel more aligned towards a defined goal instead of jumping between 20 different arbitraty things like a rabbit on crack.

- Health

As I get older, the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your body is becoming more and more apparent to me, and the contrast between the 2 ways of living is becoming more extreme as well. I no longer have the young elastic body and mind that can take a beating and still churn out useful shit.

I’ve made a couple of changes in my daily life that have helped sharpen the mind and reduce the issues I’ve been having the last few years. For one, I’ve quit smoking weed, even though it’s been very small quantities, the fact it was happening daily affected me whether I wanted to admit it or not. I have nothing against weed and people who smoke but you have to also be aware of the consequences it has on your mind and your body. Weed will also ruin the quality of your sleep. this is another change I’ve introduced to my daily life, sleeping earlier. I always had the habit of sleeping late as a means to hold onto the last few moments of the day, partly to hope to get something accomplished, but i would just end up binge watching youtube instead, and partly to avoid going to work the next day. Other changes I’ve implemented are just better eating habits, taking vitamins to also help with possible lack of nutrients, and exercising regularly.

- Plan9

I’ve started to play with / explore / learn the Plan9 operating system from Bell Labs, and It has contributed a considerable amount towards my newfound focus and dedication. One of the symptoms of my erratic brain behavior was that I was on a constant search for quick wins and dopanie rushes. I wanted to learn and do so many things but I felt rushed and I was continuously looking for the thing that would yield me the most reward in the least amount of time, and each time I would start a task, the moment I hit any sort of friction, I would immediately shift focus towards something else hoping that it would bring a faster turn around. looking back at it, it almost feels like an addict looking for the next hit wherever they can find it, looking for that immediate temporary pleasure instead of building a better path moving forward which would feel a lot more sustainable and rewarding down the line.

- Frustrations with technology

I was growing ever more frustrated with the bloat and excessiveness of modern technology, the constant bombardment of media and visual noise of the internet and social media and the news and AI doom and don’t get my started on how messed up modern web development is. I was yerning for a more minimal, streamlined experience. A place where it would bring me peace. A place where you had what you needed and nothing else, free of distractions or shiny bells and whistles.

Plan9 offered me exactly that peace and quiet. It attracted me because of how novel and unique and alien it is, yet it has a very welcoming and charming personality (perhaps due to the cute mascot glenda?).

It was a turning point for me. It was a completely new experience and I felt so lost and so confused, my efforts to find “quick wins” or “copypasta solutions” failed quickly and I realized I had no choice but to humble myself and start from scratch, I guess this is how Linux feels like to non tech people.

It helped me recalibrate my learning brain and readjust my perceptual time frames. it made me slow down, take the time to dig deep, read man pages, read papers, re-examine trully what i thought i knew and observe the difference between knowing and understanding.

There is so much to say and praise about plan9, unix and the legends at Bell Labs that built the literal foundation to the entire modern computing world as we know it today, but I’ll leave it to you, wandering traveller, to explore more of the history yourself.

- Newfound focus and drive

I’ve since taken this newfound mental clarity and focus and started applying it to other relavent projects I wanted to learn and explore. for example, Even though I’ve used linux and / or a unix based system for over 10 years now, I never truly knew much of the fundamentals of how it works or how it’s put together. You can definitely get away without knowing any of these details because there are higher level of abstractions that will do it for you and present you with a more “hand holding” experience. But I no longer find this adequate. I’ve really become aware that this lack of fundamental knowledge is holding me back from exploring multiple creative projects I’ve been interested in, plus I just have this obsessive need to understand as much as possible the things I care about. There is a quote I’ve recently learned of that I find resonates well with me on the matter:

“What I cannot create, I do not understand.” - Richard Feynman

This is what has always driven my obssessive need to learn and educate myself. The thirst for knowledge is deep and unquenchable.

- Updates to 256klabs.com

This weekend I’ve also started restructuring my website using the jekyll template currently setup to add more static pages relating to my knowledge explorations. Inspired by Devine’s wiki website, I will be keeping some living documents with notes, thoughts and snippets of my various projects as a refernce to myself first and foremost, but also to any wandering traveller that I could possibly pass the baton of inspiration to.

I’ve also decided to try and do monthly updates on this log, instead of random “on a whim” posts. I have no idea if anyone actually reads any of this, most likely not. but this is mostly my way of documenting my life and also somewhat me shouting into the void. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

- Organization and note taking

I’ve begun using Notion to keep track of projects and ideas and references to documentaion and bookmarks categorized by projects. This is also something that has helped remove some contextual load in my brain. knowing that I have a certain brain dump somewhere I can go reference is anxiety reducing for sure. This is a very new practice for me, something I’ve struggled with a lot and never really found a solution for, but seems like this Notion website is the perfect balance of ease of access and input and availability to really make this a consistent routine rather than a failed attempt. Eventually perhaps I would like to move towards a more handmade solution but I’m not going to rush it and I’ll just embrace the positives for now.

- C programming

Lastly I’ve started focusing on doing more C programming projects again, this time really starting out with small steps and not searching for immediate glory, which would end up in failure and burnout as usual, but taking the time to practice small parts everyday so it becomes a much more natural experience much like how javascript has become now, after many years of daily usage.

C is the glue that glues all of this together, I don’t think there is a language that perfectly symbolizes this yearn for understanding that I’ve had for a long time now like C does. C is at the heart of everything and it is, as they say, the lingua franca of computing today. It is a beautiful minimal but powerful tool that can do anything and everything. nothing represents “knowledge, power and understanding” more than that.

I’ll leave you with another quote. It is a motto that I’ve used and leveraged to help motivate myself so many times in the last few years, I hope it can bring you some inspiration as well.

“A year from now, you will wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb