I put the heating on for a bit yesterday.
On the morning after the US presidential election I woke up at 3am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I kept playing out the two scenarios over and over in my head: Biden wins, Trump wins. Biden wins: relief, gratitude, the possibility that some of the damage of the last four years might be undone. Trump wins: dismay, resignation, further hopelessness. I lay there trapped between the two possibilities, not daring to check my phone to collapse them into a single outcome.
At 6am I got up and made bread dough before I opened any devices to see the news. I don’t know exactly why I did this but it gave me a precious moment of reality and normality in what has otherwise been an extremely unreal and abnormal year. Then I came and wrote this note. Then I checked the headlines.
Well, as AOC says, “we aren’t in a free fall to hell anymore”.
Relief it is, then. Last night we celebrated and watched the news until past midnight. I still feel very uncertain about the prospects of America and humanity more generally but it was heartwarming to see so much footage of people dancing in the streets, music playing, car horns honking, cheers breaking out every time a USPS van drove past. I’m grateful for the better result and looking forward to catching up on sleep.
Community watch: I’m into season 2 now, up to Cooperative Calligraphy. I’m really enjoying it and am slightly annoyed that I waited so long to see it. It turns out that the dread I was feeling about daily exercise had more to do with the prospect of Star Wars than with the exercise itself; Community has succeeded in turning it into something I look forward to.
The secret new hardware I mentioned a while ago was the Raspberry Pi 400. I really like it. It is, on the one hand, just a computer. But as a person of a certain age, there’s a palpable nostalgic thrill in the form factor — I’ve come pretty close to tracking down a BBC Micro or ZX Spectrum emulator to run on it just so I can recreate that childhood sensation of playing a game on a keyboard connected to a telly. Lovely.
Since I don’t have a spare monitor (or even spare HDMI port) that I can leave it permanently connected to, my Pi 400 has been pressed into service as a mostly-headless home automation server, hence the earlier systemd fiddling. My Mac mini has been doing this job until now but that’s an expensive and inconvenient way to run a couple of small scripts so it’s satisfying to be able to move them somewhere more appropriate.
I’ve stumbled slightly because my cobbled-together Ruby code for controlling my office lights doesn’t work as reliably with Avahi’s dnssd compatibility layer as it does on macOS. Having read Apple’s documentation I now understand that checking the
kDNSServiceFlagsMoreComingflag is not a reliable way to detect whether there are more services to discover, since this is only intended to indicate that another reply is already available, not that it’s safe to stop waiting for one entirely. This probably means that it’s wrongheaded to even try to do all the discovery synchronously up front, so I need to rewrite my implementation to be continuously discovering devices instead, advertising them over HomeKit as it goes.
I wasn’t in the mood to fix it this week but it’ll be something fun to fiddle with once I can concentrate again.
47 days until Christmas.