A difficult week. A friend is going through a terrible ordeal and I’ve been doing what I can to support her but it’s been hard to concentrate on much else.
I managed one stream which was inevitably a bit of an anticlimax after last week’s milestone. I chose to sketch out a rough public API for loading and executing a WebAssembly module from Ruby, and so far it’s working okay as long as I don’t think about the awful mess necessary to make it happen.
But that’s fine: a semi-realistic interface acts as a forcing function to highlight the many problems with an implementation that hasn’t received any design attention. I can already see it’s going to require some serious refactoring to break apart the mess and reform it into thoughtful pieces which can be used sensibly. After months of pounding on the acceptance tests it’s nice to have an incentive to move beyond shameless green.
It remains unclear what eventual endgame I’m working towards on the WebAssembly project. Livestreaming requires such a large commitment of time and energy that I can’t possibly sustain it indefinitely, but I don’t want to leave the code in a permanently useless state whenever I do decide to stop making the videos. Maybe I can gracefully transition to a more conventional open source project when the time comes.
During a routine IKEA run I picked up a TRÅDFRI shortcut button because I’d learned from James that it now has HomeKit support. Three actions (“Single Press”, “Double Press” and “Long Press”) show up in the Home app, and you can use each action to trigger an automation or, more significantly, run a Shortcut.
This whole area of HomeKit automation is poorly documented and buggy, but I just about managed to muddle through recreating my key lights Shortcut from scratch inside the Home app. Now I can toggle the lights by pressing the button instead of speaking to Siri, and as a bonus I’ve set up double-press to switch them between high and low brightness. Unfortunately the JSON builder seems to be broken at the moment so I had to write raw JSON into a Text action and use that as the request body, like an animal.
It’s a real shame this stuff is so wonky. HomeKit could be great if Apple prioritised it and committed to a coherent vision of how everything should work together, but apparently they don’t believe it’s important enough to develop beyond a jumble of broken, mismatched pieces.
I reluctantly bought an annual subscription for a tvOS app, Infuse Pro, because somehow it’s the only video player for the Apple TV which supports HDR and surround sound. It’s hard to believe that there’s so little competition in this area but it does seem to be true.
I don’t like having recurring subscriptions hanging over me so I was very tempted to buy the one-off “lifetime” subscription instead, but it’s literally more than ten times the price of the annual one and I couldn’t convince myself I’d actually get a decade’s use out of it.
I suppose I’ll re-evaluate next February, at which point perhaps I’ll be a better position to waste money on this sort of thing.
Lunch with Chris & Leo on Friday brought back many happy memories of Computation Club meetings past. Another COVID casualty.
I finished season two of The White Lotus and wasn’t disappointed. It built to a far more successfully stressful climax than the first season, and overall was just better in every way. Very good!
I’ve now seen twenty-five episodes of Double Fine PsychOdyssey and it’s more or less taken over my brain. I don’t want to talk about the details for fear of spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but it’s more dramatic than I’d expected and I find myself getting increasingly emotionally invested in its personalities and decisions.
I’m amazed by how much transparency Double Fine allowed over the course of filming, and it’s developing into a uniquely valuable document of how difficult it is to run a long creative technology project and keep its team from becoming dysfunctional.
I can’t deny it also prods the work part of my brain a little bit. How would I have dealt with those problems? What would I have done differently? Where’s the tea?
I spent a lot of time on public transport this week and have therefore caught another cold. Absurd. 🤧